Lavulavu denies being responsible for cyber offence law, threatens online critics with court

Disgraced ex-politician ‘Etuate Lavulavu has denied he was responsible for the new cyber bullying bill, the Electronic Communication Abuse Offences Act, which became law last week.

‘Etuate Lavulavu

Lavulavu said the law was passed by Parliament, of which he is not a member.

Lavulavu was expelled from Parliament in 2016 after being convicted of bribery.

He has clashed with his critics and PTOA supporters on Facebook for the past week, accusing them of defaming him and publishing ‘fake news.’

Lavulavu appears to have become infuriated after he was accused of being responsible for a number of laws passed by the government, including the Communication Abuse Offence Act.

He threatened to lodge complaints against his critics with the Police.

In Tongan Lavulavu said: “Puka [Manufekai] I am warning you, if you continue what you are doing. I have no choice. I have taken screen shots of your alleged defamation and 22 fake news against me. This is my last warning. If you continue I will take you to court.”

He warned his critics before the law was passed last week that he had already taken screenshots of comments which he regarded as defamatory.

Lavulavu’s comments met with a strong reaction from his critics.

Some urged Manufekai, a staunch supporter of the PTOA Party, to continue what he was doing on Facebook.

The Attorney General, Linda Folaumoetu’i, told the media last week the new law was intended to address the use of any communication platform to abuse, harass or otherwise harm another person.

While many welcomed the law to fight against online abuse, many feared the government would use it to silence its critics and stop civil servants from leaking sensitive information to the public.

Lavulavu was convicted of bribery by the Tonga Supreme Court. That was after he was arrested in Utah in the United States in October 2003 over a 1997 immigration scam. In 2004 he was convicted after pleading guilty to two counts of illegal use of a birth certificate.

On 3 March 2018 Lavulavu and his wife were arrested on fraud charges stemming from their management of the ʻUnuaki ʻo Tonga Royal Institute in 2016.

‘Etuate Lavulavu was asked for comment, but told us his answers were in interviews he made with Radio Tonga and 89.5 FM.

Unfortunately, the questions we have offered him a chance to answer come from us, not the radio stations.

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