A court hearing Monday for the acting speaker of Tonga’s parliament Lord Tuʻi Haʻateiho has been adjourned to September 30 to allow the Magistrate Salesi Mafi time to go through the legal documents.
The Ha’apai Noble’s Representative, who is charged with illegal possession of a firearm, appeared in court on Monday, August 26.
On the following day August 27 he had to act as chairman of the House as the Speaker Lord Fakafanua was leaving for overseas.
However Lord Tu’iha’ateiho stood up and told the House he would resign as acting speaker citing feeling that people lose trust in him because of his pending court case.
His resignation shocked the House as many particularly the opposition did not expect any such voluntary resignation to come from the nobility as they are elected by only 33 nobles and not by the people.
The reaction of the members of the opposition party was another shock with the representative of Tongatapu 10 emotionally reminded Lord Tu’iha’ateiho not to resign because he has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.
It was the Opposition Party’s charter made public since 2010 that states members must consistently supportive of any action that could help deter and remove from office government leaders and all politicians who are allegedly involved in any improprieties and corruption.
The House resumed in the afternoon hours but no further discussion on the acting speaker’s resignation and Lord Tu’iha’ateiho was still the chairperson for the day. No further official press release from Parliament to confirm his resignation.
The Monday’s court adjournment was the last in a series of 22 deferrals made for Tu’iha’ateiho’s trial since his first court appearance on March 2012.