Companies with strong government, family, connections awarded road building contracts

Prime Minister  Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa has confirmed that three companies with strong links to the government have been awarded contracts to supply rocks for the government’s new multimillion roading project.

Companies with strong government, family, connections awarded road building contracts. (L-R) Saia Moehau, Lord Nuku and ‘Etuate Lavulavu

The contractors are Island Dredging Limited, City Engineering and Construction Limited and Inter-Pacific Limited.

In April the Prime Minister said claims that a contract had been awarded to City Engineering and Constructions were “false and misleading.”

The Minister of Police, Lord Nuku, used to be a Director for Island Dredging but his name was taken off the director’s list on July 31 last year.

Lord Nuku’s son Faka’osifono Valevale is the current Director of Island Dredging.

Tongan People’s Party Deputy Chairman Etuate Lavulavu was made a Director of Inter-Pacific Limited in February 2016 but was later replaced  by ‘Inoke Finau Vala in May this year.

‘Etuate Lavulavu is also the husband of the Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism. Saia Moehau is the sole Director of City Engineering and Construction Ltd and he is a strong supporter of the People’s Party.

The Island Dredging Ltd will supply rocks for Tongatapu 10, Tt9, Tt2, Tt4 and Tt3. City Engineering will supply rocks for Tongatapu 6, Tt7, Tt5, Tt8, and Tt1. Inter-Pacific Ltd will supply rocks for Vava’u 16, VV15, and VV14.

The names of the three contractors were revealed on social media in June. Democrat MPs accused the Prime Minister and his Government in Parliament of nepotism and conflict of interest in regards to the road project.

Opposition MPs claimed that other contractors involved in the bid for the contract were cheaper than the government’s favoured contractors.

Kaniva News reported in April this year that the government claimed it could  not afford to pay the market price of between TP$190 and TP$220 for the rocks and so had lawfully cancelled the procurement process.

The Prime Minister said at the time it was following due process for the procurement contract.

Hon. Tu’i’onetoa then said the government had set the price at TP$70 for each truck load.

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