Attorney general files lawsuit to disqualify Tapueluelu’s parliamentary membership

In the picture: L-R.  Tonga Acting Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecution and Tongatapu 4 MP Māteni Tapueluelu

Tonga’s Acting Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecution has filed a civil action yesterday at the Nuku’alofa Supreme Court seeking an order to disqualify  MP Māteni Tapueluelu’s parliamentary membership.

Āminiasi Kefu claims Tapueluelu had breached the electoral law by not paying the fine he owes to former MP and Minister of Justice, Clive Edwards who successfully sued him for defamation over an article in Keleʻa newspaper.

Kefu seeks an urgent hearing because the constitution has been allegedly breached. He also asks the  court to order the Tongatapu 4 MP to pay back any  salary or remuneration benefits he received to the Court or  the Crown law office until a judicial decision was reached.

In a statement released to media yesterday Kefu claimed that when Tapueluelu submitted his application to become  candidate in the last general election on 23 October 2014 and was later elected to Parliament on 27 November 2014,  he was owing Edwards  a total of TP$14,500.00.

The Supreme Court has yet to decide a date for the hearing.

According to the Tongan constitution, a candidate must not be qualified to run for election if there is a judgment of debt against him or her.

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