PM’s son takes legal action over  claims of multi-million paʻanga software sale

PHOTO: Siaosi Pohiva denies he has multi million dollar software package

The Tongan Prime Minister’s son, Siaosi Pohiva, is taking legal action after Matangi Tonga Online and a number of other news outlets in the kingdom published a series of articles claiming he had used his influence to persuade the government to buy a multi-million paʻanga software package.

He told Kaniva News early this evening that he had contacted his lawyers in Tonga and New Zealand and they were now in the process of writing up a statement of claim.

The articles,  by Sione Mokofisi, have also stung the government, which is seeking advice from the Crown Law office.

Siaosi Pohiva said the multi-million pa’anga software did not exist and he was not in a business relationship with IT consultant Piveni Piukala.

Mokofisi, who also published the allegations on Nepituno  News page, has since denied that he had claimed that the Tongan cabinet had approved purchasing the software.

However, in his first article he wrote: “And the new multi-million software is now being cleared through cabinet which is to be purchased from the PM’s son and his partner.”

He also referred to the “Pohiva-Piukala consultancy.”

In a statement to Tongan media outlets dated April 16, Pohiva said he was employed as Head of the Assessment Section of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Fiji under the Educational Quality and Assessment Programme.

He said it had become evident that the quality of education in the region was in decline and that part of the solution was to find a way to standardise or scale exam results throughout the region.

At this stage Piveni Piukala was Head of the Information and Communication Technology programme and they worked together to find a software solution to the problem.

It was first tried on one subject in 2011 and then on four subjects the next year. In 2013 it was applied to all form seven regional exams.

The software was still being developed by Piukala, who was now a private consultant in several countries where local conditions had to be taken into consideration.

READ MORE:  Siaosi Pohiva’s April 16 statement.

Pohiva said the story was intended to discredit his father, Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva.

The Tongan government press release quotes Piukala calling Mokofisi’s claims “a bunch of lies.”

Siaosi Pohiva wrote to Matangi Tonga Online on March 3 demanding an apology and denying Mokifisi’s claims. They did so,  but followed his letter with an editor’s note saying people were entitled to express their opinions.

He wrote again on April 6, describing Mokifisi’s claims as “erroneous and misguided,” but this was not published.

The  main points

  • The Tongan Prime Minister’s son, Siaosi Pohiva, is taking legal action after Matangi Tonga Online published a series of articles claiming he had used his influence to persuade the government to buy a multi-million pa’anga software package.
  • Pohiva told Kaniva News early this evening that he had contacted his lawyers in Tonga and New Zealand and they were now in the process of writing up a statement of claim.
  • The articles, by Sione Mokofisi, have also stung the government, which is seeking advice from the Crown Law office.
  • Siaosi Pohiva said the multi-million pa’anga software did not exist and denied he was in a business relationship with IT consultant Piveni Piukala.

For more information

“Cabinet decision on “multimillion dollar software” purchase a total fabrication”

Mokofisi’s articles

Education Dept to buy PM son’s multi-million software

PMO Pohiva & Co.: Co ahead and make my day. Sue me. 

April 16 Statement to Tongan media outlets from Siaosi Pohiva. (An edited version by Kaniva News)

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