Former Governor of Vava‘u will face court over repayment in fraud case in January 2024

The latest act in a long running fraud case involving former Governor of Vava’u, Lord Fulivai and his wife Helen, will take place in the Auckland District Court January next year.

Lord Fulivai and his wife Lady Helen Fulivai

It is understood the case has  been delayed  by the backlog of cases due to Covid-19 in the New Zealand court system.

A 10 day trial has been set down for January 15, 2024.

Lord and Lady Fulivai have been involved in a long running dispute with Auckland businessman Christopher Barrett.

As Kaniva News reported earlier, in October 2021, the High Court in Auckland ordered that the Fulivais repay Barrett $253,370.60, the equivalent of $TP407,777.

The couple were also served with an affadavit showing that the Tongan Supreme Court had allowed the New Zealand judgement to be registered in the central registry of the Supreme Court under the terms of a reciprocal enforcement of judgements order.

Justice Venning ruled in the New Zealand High Court that the Fulivais must repay the money together with interest dating back to January 1, 2018; repayment of loans with interests and costs for the entire proceedings.

Barrett told the court that  the then Governor assured him he could organize a 99-year lease of land on Pangaimotu island in Vava’u for $170,000.

Barrett said he did not receive any lease and the defendants were therefore in breach of the agreement.

Barrett said Lord Fulivai made various promises to grant leases of other pieces of land in Vava’u.

“I was duped,” he said.

“I received a series of requests from both defendants seeking loans from me over the following years. Unfortunately, I naively trusted them and made loans to them as requested from time to time.”

These were not repaid.

New Zealand Police investigated claims against the Fulivais and charged them with obtaining money by deception.

A statement lodged with the court by Barrett’s legal representative said Lord Fulivai had admitted responsibility to repay the $170,000 and $21,500 in loans. The Fulivais had agreed to take no further action in the proceedings last October.

Documents showed that Lord Fulivai used the King’s name and that of the Prime Minister and Health Minister Saia Piukala in his dealings with Barratt.

Barrett has also pursued Lord Fulivai and his Seattle-based cousin Micheal Thomson for $550,000 for work on a yellow fin tuna project.

The Fulivais will be defended in their 2024 trial by controversial lawyer Kahungunu Barron-Afeaki, who has  been declared bankrupt twice.

Barron-Afeaki has provided advice to the King of Tonga, its government and royal commissions of inquiry.

He has also acted in several prominent cases in New Zealand, including as counsel for former Maori Television chief executive John Davy, who was fired from the network and later jailed for fraud.

For more information

Lord and Lady Fulivai served with demand for payment of $253,000 to Auckland businessman after court rulings in Tonga and New Zealand

Lord Fulivai used King’s name, cited PM, Cabinet and Health Minister in correspondence over fraudulent land deal with NZ businessman

Inland Revenue claims Tongan King’s lawyer owes $245k, High Court declares him bankrupt

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