Acting Attorney General considers legal action against Tongatapu 4 MP Tapueluelu

The Office of the Acting Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions is considering taking legal action against Tongatapu 4 MP Mateni Tapueluelu.

Kaniva News understands Acting Attorney General ‘Aminiasi Kefu has received evidence from the Supreme Court Registry about claims that Hon. Tapueluelu had breached the kingdom’s electoral laws.

According to a report in Matangi Tonga Online, Kefu said the evidence related to whether or not the MP had an outstanding judgment on the date of nomination registration for the General Election in October 2014.

An appeal court ruled early this year that Tapueluelu had failed to pay a fine imposed on him in 2011 after a dispute with former MP and Minister of Justice Clive Edwards over an article of defamation in Kele’a newspaper.

Tapueluelu was then the newspaper’s editor.

It is a breach of Tongan law if a candidate runs for election when there is a judgment of debt against them.

In May this year Hon. Tapueluelu made a number of emotional comments about why he did not pay the fine within the timeframe the appeal court ordered.

He claimed he had donated the money towards the cost of his mother-in-law’s medical treatment in New Zealand.

Hon. Tapueluelu is the Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva’s son-in-law.

He entered the political arena for the first time last year after a power struggle within the Tongan  Democratic Party in 2014 in which he clashed with sitting MP for Tongatapu 4 ‘Isileli Pulu.

Pulu, who was then the Democratic Party’s Deputy Leader, accused Tapueluelu of using his position as editor of PM Pohiva’s Kele’a newspaper to divide the members of the Party so he could bring in his own list of candidates to stand for parliament.

The disagreement became the focus of media attention. The squabble came to a head after Pohiva, who was then Party Leader, announced he had sacked Pulu and other Party members claiming he could no longer work with them because they keep on criticising his leadership using other media outlets.

The war between Pulu and Tapueluelu shifted to another level after the Party had to look for a candidate to compete with Pulu for the Tongatapu 4 seat and selected Tapueluelu.

Tapueluelu won the seat in the 2014 general election. He was one of the youngest MPs to have entered Tonga’s Parliament.

The main points

  • The Office of the Acting Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions is confident Tongatapu 4 MP Mateni Tapueluelu breached Tonga’s election law.
  • According to Matangi Tonga Online, Acting Attorney General ‘Aminiasi Kefu said he was considering legal action against Tapueluelu.
  • Kaniva News understands the Acting Attorney General’s decision was made after he received evidence from the Supreme Court Registry.
  • An appeal court ruled early this year that Hon. Tapueluelu had failed to pay a fine imposed on him in 2011 after a dispute with former MP and Minister of Justice Clive Edwards over an article of defamation in Kele’a

For more information

AG awaits evidence on Tongatapu PR’s alleged debt (Matangi Tonga)

MP Tapueluelu’s future in balance

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.

Latest news

Related news