Lord Tuʻilakepa accuses Prime Minister of bad mouthing him to US embassy

Lord Tuʻilakepa claimed in Parliament yesterday that his application for a visa to the United States was declined because the Prime Minister had reported on him adversely to the US embassy.

In response, the Prime Minister told Parliament the Sydney Morning Herald had reported that Lord Tuʻilakepa had been bribed by an international crime syndicate headed by Colombians as part of a plot to import tonnes of cocaine into Australia.

Hon. Pohiva implied this was what he told the US embassy in Fiji when he was asked to give a recommendation about Lord Tuʻilakepa’s visa application.

While Hon. Pohiva was speaking Lord Tuʻilakepa interrupted and said he knew something about Pohiva which if revealed would be the end of him.

The noble made personal remarks about the Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pohiva, alleging he should quit the premiership because he was terminally ill.

But the Speaker repeatedly stopped the noble and told the House to adjourn for a break.

The incident emerged after Tuʻilakepa made a long speech this morning in which he accused the government of not sticking to their election campaign for proper use of government vehicles.

Lord Tu’ilakepa then launched an attack on MP for Ha’apai 13 and Chair of the Whole House Committee, Veivosa Taka, accusing him of using his Parliamentary vehicle when he was finished work.

He said he took photos of Taka’s van parked outside a kava club at night while he was inside drinking kava.

Lord Tu’ilakepa then called on the government to confess to their voters and told them they had breached their promises.

Taka told Lord Tu’ilakepa he was spying on him and had reported unnecessary things to the House.

He lashed out at the noble and said he was just returned from Fiji after his application was declined.

“It was declined because of the Prime Minister”, Lord Tu’ilakepa told the House in Tongan.

The Prime Minister told the House he could tell there was a big improvement in how the government vehicles were currently used in comparison to former governments.

Hon.Pohiva said he understood what the noble was talking about, but they tried to keep after-hours usage to a prudent level.

The Herald article

On December 17, 2011, the Sydney Morning Herald, citing Australian Federal Police, reported that a Colombian drug syndicate allegedly bribed the then Speaker of the Tongan Legislative Assembly, Lord Tu’ilakepa, to sponsor a Colombian drug boss to come to the Pacific island.

“The drug boss, Obeil Antonio Zuluaga Gomez, wanted to direct an alleged operating hub from Tonga and oversee cocaine shipments,” the Herald reported.

“Despite having never met Gomez, Lord Tu’ilakepa wrote that he would ”guarantee that I will be providing the necessary housing and financial support to this person [Gomez] and take full responsibility for him during the duration of his stay.”

”I can also vouch that the aforementioned is an honest, trustworthy and law abiding person.”

“Gomez has been previously imprisoned for drug trafficking.

As a result of raids prompted by the Australian investigation, Lord Tu’ilakepa was charged with drugs and weapons offences.

The main points

  • Lord Tuʻilakepa claimed in Parliament this morning that his application for a visa to the United States was declined because the Prime Minister had reported on him adversely to the US embassy.
  • In response, Hon. Pohiva said the Sydney Morning Herald had reported that Lord Tuʻilakepa had been bribed by an international crime syndicate as part of a plot to import tonnes of cocaine into Australia.
  • Pohiva implied this was what he told the US embassy in Fiji when he was asked to give a recommendation about Lord Tuʻilakepa’s visa application.
  • While Hon. Pohiva was speaking Lord Tuʻilakepa interrupted, but the Speaker repeatedly stopped the noble and told the House to adjourn for a break.

For more information 

Tongan Speaker helped drug team, say police

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