Democratic Leader Sēmisi Sika blasts PM Tu‘i‘onetoa as ‘lying, ill hearted’ after road maintenance contract claims interview

'Oku taupotu 'i lalo heni ha fakamatala faka-Tonga

The Leader of Democratic (PTOA) Party Sēmisi Sika has accused Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa of lying when he was interviewed about why the government did not repair damages to the roads after recent heavy raining and flooding.

One of the roads in Tongatapu with holes after recent flooding. Photo/Facebook

Sika claimed the Prime Minister appears to have held a grudge against the PTOA Party members and this has been shown in some of his regular public statements and interviews which Sika has described as “malicious and unbecoming”.

Sika was responding after the Prime Minister said during a recent interview with the government’s sponsored Television Tonga and Broadcasting Commission that the government could not repair the damages because of contract agreements signed by Sika in 2018.

The interview

Tu’i’onetoa said these were five companies contracted by the government to repair the roads but stopped short of saying why the contractors did not do their jobs to repair the roads or whether the government has discussed the situation with them. Instead, he kept on telling the broadcaster the government couldn’t do anything to repair the roads until these companies’ contracts expired in May this year.

The Prime Minister also said the public have to face and stay with the road damages as if the government has made any changes to the agreements these contractors may end up taking legal actions against the government.

PM Tu’i’onetoa said Sika signed the contract agreements while he was the Minister of Infrastructure in 2018.

He said the companies were BB Contractor, Five Star – a company belongs to Sika’s parents, To’a Contractor, Petani Quarry and Veisiale Construction

PM Tu’i’onetoa (left), MP Sika

Contractors vs government

But Sika claimed the Prime Minister was lying.

He alleged the roads were left unrepaired because the government has yet to tell the contractors to repair them.

Many potholes had been seen developing on main roads in Nuku’alofa very recently and Sika said this was of great concerns because these were the capital’s main roads.

Sika told Kaniva News this week the contractors could not do any repair or maintenance works to the roads unless the government’s Ministry of Infrastructure tell them when to repair or fill the roads with tar.

Sika said the contracted works included mowing grasses along the roadsides.

“If you see long grasses along our roadsides it was because the government did not tell the contractors to cut it,” Sika claimed.

Sika said these contractors were ready to do the works and they have the right equipment to do the jobs.

“The Prime Minister mentioned my name as the former Minister of MOI from Tongatapu 2 who signed the contracts. That was untrue,” Sika said.

Payment conditions / Procurement Committee

Sika said if these contractors have repaired the roads without getting permission from the government first the Ministry of Finance wouldn’t pay them for that work.

Sika said the Prime Minister’s claim that he, as former MOI Minister, dealt with the agreements with these contactors and signed them in 2018 was untrue.

Sika said all government’s contract works must be processed by the government through its Procurement Committee.

He said the contracts for these five companies were all processed through the Procurement Committee and Tu’i’onetoa was the Minister of Finance at the time when the government offered the contracts to these companies. The Procurement Committee is operated under the authority of the Minister of Finance.

“The Committee’s duties includes examining the companies to make sure they can do the jobs well before offering them the contracts,” Sika said.

Sika said  the outsourcing of the road repair works to private companies was initiated by the World Bank before it was accepted by the Tonga government few years before he became the Minister of Infrastructure.

FAKAMATALA FAKA-TONGA

Kuo tukuaki’i ‘e Semisi Sika, taki ‘o e PTOA na’e loi  ‘a e Palemia he’ene pehē ‘i ha ‘initaviu he’ikai lava e pule’anga ‘o  toe monomono e ngaahi hala’ kuo maumau’i ‘e he ‘uha’ mo e tāfea’ koe’uhi ne’ osi konituleki e pule’anga ki mu’a ‘o ‘Akilisi Pōhiva mo ha ngaahi kautaha ‘e nima ke nau fai ‘a e ngāue ko ia’. Na’e ‘ikai ha lave ‘e taha ‘a e palemia’ ‘i hono faka’eke’eke ko ‘eni ia ‘e he Televisone Tonga’ ki he ‘uhinga kuo ‘ikai monomono ai ‘e he ngaahi kautaha ko ‘eni ‘a e hala’ ngata pe he’ene pehē kuo ‘osi fai ‘a e konituleki mo kinautolu.  Pehē ‘e Tu’i’onetoa ko Sika ne alea mo e ngaahi kautaha ko ‘eni’ ki mu’a pea ne fakamo’oni he ngaahi konituleki’. Pehē ‘e Sika, ‘oku ‘ikai mo’oni e palēmia’ heni.  “i he fakamatala ‘a Sika, ‘oku mahino neongo kuo fai ‘a e fefakamo’oni’aki aleapau ‘a e ngaahi konitulekotoa mo e pule’anga’ ka ‘e kei fakaongoongo pe ‘a e ngaahi kautaha’ ni ki he ngaue ke fai’ ‘i hano fakamafai’i mei he pule’anga’. Ne pehē ai ‘e Sika ‘e ‘ikai lava e kau konitulekitoa’ ‘o monomono ha konga hala ta’e ‘uluaki tala mai ‘e he pule’anga’ ke nau ngāue ki he hala ko ia’. Pehē ‘e Sika, kapau ‘e tu’u hake pe ngaahi konitulekitoa’ ‘o monomono e hala’ ta’e fakapā ki mu’a ki he pule’anga’ ‘e ‘ikai totongi ‘e he pule’anga’ ia ‘a e ngāue ko ia’. Ko e pehē ‘e he palēmia’ ko Sika ne ne alea’i ‘a e ngaahi konituleki ko ‘eni mo fakamo’oni ai’, ‘oku ta’emo’oni ia fakatatau kia Sika. Pehē ‘e Sika ko e lao’ ‘oku ne tala mai ko e ngaahi konituleki kotoa pe ‘a e pule’anga’ ‘e fou ia ‘i he Kōmiti Polokiuameni ‘a e Pule’anga’. Ko nautolu te nau sivi pe ‘oku taau ha konitulekitoa ki mu’a pea nau tali ‘aki honau mafai ke  foaki ange ‘a e ngāue ko ia’. Pea ko e palēmia ‘o e ‘aho ni’ na’e Minisitā Pa’anga he ‘aho ne tali ai ‘e he Polokiuameni’ ‘a e konituleki ‘a e ngaahi kautaha ‘e nima ko ‘eni’ ke nau tanu mo monomono ‘a e ngaahi hala ‘i Tongatapu, ‘Eua, Ha’apai mo Vava’u mei Mē ‘o e 2018 ki Mē 2021. ‘A ia ko e Five Star, BB Contractor, To’a Construction, Veisiale Construction mo e Petani Quarry. Tukuaki’i foki ‘e Sika ‘a Tu’i’onetoa ‘oku kei teteve pe hono loto he PTOA pea ‘asi ‘a e ngaahi loto ngali taaufehi’a nai kiate ia ‘i he anga ‘ene ngaahi fakamatala ne fa’a fai ‘i hano  faka’eke’eke ia ‘e he ngaahi mitia’.

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