Deported rapist who hired taxi, buy alcohol at bars with fake money in Tongatapu sent to jail

'Oku taupotu 'i lalo ha fakamatala faka-Tonga

A Tongatapu man who used counterfeit money to purchase items at businesses across the mainland was sentenced to less than two years imprisonment in the Supreme Court in Nuku’alofa this morning.

Tonga Soane, 57, was found guilty after being convicted of three counts after attempting to use the fake bills at a bar, petrol station, restaurant and a taxi company.

On the evening of 6 December 2019 Soane paid $50 to the Telekava petrol station for fuel.

He also purchased beer at the Reload Bar using three $50 pa’anga notes. The cashiers at both establishments rejected his notes .

The Tonga National Reserve Bank later confirmed those pa’anga notes, among others, were fake.

Soane also ordered food from the Talahiva Restaurant for which he gave the cashier a $100 note. He was confronted there for using fake note before he left. The prisoner claimed the fake notes must have been given to him from the previous shop he was at. That explanation was rejected at trial.

The prisoner then hired a taxi to drive him around Tongatapu. He paid the driver three $100 notes before the manager of the taxi base complained to the police. Soane was arrested and charged.

He said in an interview with a probation officer that “he paid all the alleged amount that he owed in the offences”.

He “has not shown any remorse, nor does he regret what he did.”

His lawyer told the Supreme court in Nuku’alofa this morning April 1 his client has “previous good character”.

In sentencing Soane, the Lord Chief Jusrice said Soane is convicted of uttering counterfeit currency and was variably given three terms of imprisonment for the crimes he committed. Mr. Whitten suspended the last four months.

“All terms are to be served concurrently.”

Soane must also:

(a) be placed on probation;

(b) report to the probation office within 48 hours of his release; and

(c) undertake such life skills or other courses as his probation officer directs.

“I order that the counterfeit currency the subject of this proceeding be destroyed.”

Soane was also locked up in 1990s in New Zealand after he was convicted of rape and sentenced to a five-year imprisonment. Upon his release, he was deported to Tonga.

In 1999, he was convicted of theft and sentenced to three years imprisonment.

FAKAMATALA FAKATONGA

Na’e tautea ‘i he pongipongi ‘o e ‘aho ni’ ‘a Tonga Soane ta’u 57 ki he hia ko hono fakatau’aki ha koloa e pa’anga loi. Ko e taki pa’anga $50 mo $100 Tonga kākaa’i ‘eni hono fa’u’ ‘o ne totongi ‘utu’aki ha pausa, fakatau me’akai, pia ‘i ha pā mo totongi’aki ha tekisī ke ‘eva takai ai ‘i Tonga. Kuo’ ne ngāue pōpula ai ‘i he ta’u ‘e taha māhina ‘e fā, ka kuo toloi malu’i angalelei ‘a e māhina ‘e fā faka’osi’. ‘I he 1990 tupu ne ngāue pōpula ai ‘i Nu’u Sila ki he tohotoho pea iku ‘o tipooti ai ia ki Tonga ‘o ne toe ngāue pōpula ai ki he hia ko e kaiha’a.

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