King dismisses Tonga’s Minister of Internal Affairs

The king of Tonga has dismissed the kingdom’s Minister for Internal Affairs, Hon Sosefo Fe’ao Vakata effective yesterday, 14 September 2016.

The dismissal came after the Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pohiva wrote to the king and recommended that he revoked the minister from his ministerial post.

Kaniva understands the Ministry’s Director of Women Affairs Tupou ‘Ahau Fakakovikaetau has lodged a complaint with the Prime Minister’s Office against Vakata.

She claimed the Minister was involved in an incident in Vava’u last month  in which a wine glass was thrown at her.

It was also alleged the Minister was drunk.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office received by Kaniva News this morning read:

On 10 September, 2016, the Prime Minister, Hon. Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva wrote to the Minister for Internal Affairs Hon Sosefo Fe’aomoeata Vakata and requested that he voluntarily resigns from his position as Cabinet Minister, by 12 noon on Monday 12 September, 2016.

The Hon Prime Minister did not receive any response from the Minister for Internal Affairs after the deadline. As such, the Hon Prime Minister submitted his recommendation to the King on the evening of 12 September 2016, pursuant to clause 51 (3) (a) of the Constitution, whereby the Hon Prime Minister recommended to His Majesty The King, to revoke the appointment of the Minister of Internal Affairs with effect from 13 September, 2016.

On 14 September, 2016, a letter from the Lord Chamberlain conveyed that His Majesty The King has been pleased to assent to the Hon Prime Minister’s recommendation to revoke the Ministerial appointment of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon Sosefo Fe’aomoeata Vakata and to be effective from 13 September 2016.

On the same day, 14 September 2016, the Hon Prime Minister received the Hon Sosefo Fe’aomoeata Vakata’s letter of resignation, as Minister of Internal Affairs.  Nevertheless, as per the legal advice received by the Hon Prime Minister, the revocation of the appointment of the Minister for Internal Affairs was duly made by His Majesty The King on 14 September 2016 and to be effective from 13 September 2016, by virtue of Clause 51(3)(a) of the Constitution. This is regardless of the fact that the Minister of Internal Affairs later submitted his resignation.

Accordingly, the Honourable Prime Minister Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva hereby informs the public that the appointment of the Minister for Internal Affairs Hon Sosefo Fe’aomoeata Vakata is deemed to have been revoked on 14 September, 2016, with effect from 13 September 2016.

The Hon Prime Minister Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva wishes the former Minister of Internal Affairs the very best with his future endeavours.

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