Tonga’s first independent Attorney General, Mr John Cauchi filed Thursday, May 24 at Nuku’alofa Supreme Court, claims in special damages, relief for breach of his employment contract and Repudiation of contract.
Mr Cauchi first served as Tonga Attorney General on 25 May 2009 but resigned in April 2010 citing government obstruction of a decision he made to appoint two independent prosecutors to investigate and prosecute matters relating to sinking of MV Ashika that killed 74 passengers mostly Tongans.
Tonga cabinet said at the time they were reluctant to officially consider the appointment of the Australian Prosecutor Dan Howard and New Zealander Prosecutor Grant Burston by Cauchi because of the government’s “tight financial constraint”.
But Cauchi claimed they feared some of them and former cabinet members “are likely to be prosecuted”.
In an interview with Radio ABC he believed the government’s real motive was to “ensure that members of the cabinet and other people, who might be regarded as close friends or cronies, are not either prosecuted or further prosecuted”.
During the commission’s inquiry into the MV Ashika tragedy, former Briton judge in Tonga, Lord Dalgety was arrested accusing of perjury over evidence to the Ashika royal commission.
But a supreme court judge released him saying his indictment was not signed by a court official before serving with Dalgety.
Cauchi, who already returned to Australia at the time slammed the judge’s decision saying “the case would feed perceptions in Tonga that there was one law for ordinary citizens and another for the elite”.
The case will be heard on June 28.