Lavulavu will not say who authorised him to speak regularly and publicly on behalf of Prime Minister Tuʻiʻonetoa’s government

Who has authorised ‘Etuate Lavulavu to speak so regularly and publicly on behalf of the government?

In recent weeks Lavulavu has appeared to speak for the government during its processions for prayer and fasting around the islands, even going so far as to apparently make fun of the Prime Minister.

Kaniva News has asked Lavulavu to say who authorised him to speak on government matters. However, as he has done when we asked him for clarification of other issues,  he 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.

In Vava’u earlier this year there were complaints after convicted ex-Cabinet Minister Lavulavu interfered during Parliamentary meetings in Leimātu’a and Hahake districts and praised the government and its housing for the poor scheme.

Local people asked what his position in government was.

Last week in Vava’u, Lavulavu spoke almost everywhere the Prime Minister and his government delegates went to promote the Prime Minister’s taxpayer funded fasting and prayer service to combat Covid-19.

During a celebration in Tu’anekivale, Vava’u  last week, it was Lavulavu who introduced a donation and a Tongan entertainment item sponsored by Prime Minister Pōhiva Tuʻiʻonetoa, his family and members of his delegates. He was making jokes about the Prime Minister during his introduction which many observers felt showed how confident and close he was to  Hon. Tuʻiʻonetoa. They felt Lavulavu could  say anything he wanted in front of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Ministers.

The Chief Secretary General and some of the Cabinet Ministers, including senior staff of the Prime Minister’s Office were there. Critics asked why a former Minister who was barred from Parliament after being found guilty of bribery was allowed to speak at an important event that was shown on Facebook as well as being  broadcast.

Lavulavu was known locally by the title “engineer” referring to what he did to create the People’s Party and how he managed to persuade some PTOA MPs to join it until  the new group outnumbered the PTOA Party in the premiership election after Late ‘Akilisi Pohiva died.

Lavulavu is regarded as having been instrumental in devising the government’s controversial multi-million roading policy. He has said publicly that the first question he asked the People’s Party at their first meeting was what their priority policy was. The Party answered it was the roading policy. Lavulavu said he applauded the Party for that as it showed they were on the right track.


Apart from being convicted by the Tonga Supreme Court for bribery and by a US court for fraud, ‘Etuate Lavulavu is currently facing two frauds charges in the court of Tonga.

He and his wife Akosita, who was voted to represent his electorate after he was removed from Parliament and is currently responsible for the Ministries of  Infrastructure and Tourism, were charged with knowingly dealing with forged documents and obtaining credit by false pretences, after irregularities in an audit of the ‘Unuaki ‘o Tonga Royal Institute in 2016.

Lavulavu is also facing a lawsuit after he was accused recently of forging a landlord’s signature in Vava’u from whom he leased land.

In 2000 he was sued by Late Prince Tu’ipelehake for damages and unlawful cultivation of his land. Chief Justice Ward ordered Lavulavu to quit the land and pay $7,905 damages. Chief Justice Ward, presiding, was scathing about aspects of Lavulavu’s testimony during the trial,  saying “I felt he was willing to say almost anything that seemed to suit the moment with a repeated disregard for the truth.”

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