Reserve Bank names Speaker in list of “suspicious” money transfers

Speaker of Parliament Lord Tu’ivakanō and his wife Joyce Robin Kaho have been listed by the Tonga National Reserve bank as being involved in suspicious money transfers.

The list comprises 15 people who have transferred money overseas, including former Acting Chief Secretary to Cabinet ‘Aholotu Palu and former female Police Inspector ‘Ileana Taulua who worked at the immigration department.

Lord Tu’ivakanō and his wife’s names were first on the list.

The Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva gave copies of the list to local media in a press conference last week.

Hon. Pōhiva said the names on the list were people suspected of money laundering.

The Governor of the National Reserve Bank of Tonga, Dr Ngongo Kioa, did not respond to a request for comment by Kaniva News.

However, he confirmed the authenticity of the list to Talaki Newspaper.

Dr. Kioa said he was surprised when he found out the list had been leaked to media.

He said the document was confidential and only the bank and Police had it in their possession.

Dr Kioa told the paper the list had been created after the bank noticed these people transferred huge amounts of money overseas.

He said the bank was “suspicious” of the amounts of money transferred by these people.

Dr. Kioa said the bank has yet to prove there were illegal activities involved with these people’s money transfers.

The revelation came after a former parliamentary legal advisor Seinimili Tu’i’onetoa Fonua alleged there were financial and other irregularities involving Lord Tuʻivakanō and parliamentary staff.

Fonua claimed Lord Tuʻivakanō and parliamentary staff were involved in improperly sending money overseas. Sums of up to TP$20,000 at a time were involved.

The Speaker has dismissed Fonua’s accusations.

The list

  1. Siale ‘Ataongo Kaho (Honourable Tu’ivakanō)
  2. Joyce Robyn Kaho
  3. Sien Lee (Anthony Lee)
  4. Yung Huang Lee (Angela Lee)
  5. ‘Aholotu Palu (‘Aholotu Saafi)
  6. Heleni Makoni Palu
  7. David Lavulo Edwards
  8. ‘Isapela Saiatua Tu’akoi (Satua Tu’akoi)
  9. Salote Halaevalu Tupoulahi
  10. Sioeli Kivalu Heleta
  11. Na Li
  12. Nai Yan Cheuing (Lawrence Cheuing)
  13. Mia Wang (Orlandoni Wang)
  14. Tony Chen
  15. Ileana Suliana Taulua  (‘Ileana Taulua)
  • The main points
    Speaker of Parliament Lord Tu’ivakanō and his wife Joyce Robin Kaho have been listed by  the Tonga National Reserve bank as being involved in suspicious money transfers.
  • The list comprises 15 people who have transferred money overseas, including former Acting Chief Secretary to Cabinet ‘Aholotu Palu.
  • Lord Tu’ivakanō and his wife’s names were first on the list.
  • The Prime Minister gave a copy of the list to Kaniva News last night.

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