Infrastructure Minister alleges roading contractors falsified records to obtain TP$1m

Minister for Infrastructure, Sevenitiini Toumo’ua, has accused contractors who supply rocks for government road maintenance of forging records to obtain millions of pa’anga a month.

Minister of Infrastructure and Civil Aviation Seventeen Toumo’ua

The Minister did not name the companies allegedly involved.

The Minister’s claims come just before the latest court hearing over the years-long saga of the kingdom’s ill-fated roading project, which was started by the previous government of the late Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa.

The claim has sparked a huge public reaction on social media.

The Tu’i’onetoa government contracted three quarry companies to provide rocks at $70 per truck load.

Hon. Tu’i’onetoa said at the time the contracts were offered to these companies because they bid the lowest prices which were affordable for the government.


The announcement of the successful bidders at the time sparked public outrage after it was revealed the contractors were close friends and families of some of the then Cabinet ministers.  

The contractors were the Island Dredging Ltd quarry a company operated by former Minister of Police Lord Nuku’s children, another contractor was City Engineering and Constructions Ltd which belonged to a member of the former Prime Minister’s political Party, Saia Moehau. The other contractor, Inter-Pacific Limited belonged to convicted former Minister and fraudster ‘Etuate Lavulavu.

The Minister for Infrastructure claimed yesterday that records of loads carried under the roading contract were falsified to obtain TP$1 million in one month.

He alleged that trucks transporting rocks for the roading site used two different registration plate numbers.

He said TP$18 million of taxpayers’ had already been paid. He described this as “imprudent.”

Companies with strong government, family, connections awarded road building contracts. (L-R) Saia Moehau, Lord Nuku and ‘Etuate Lavulavu

Kaniva News contacted Hon. Toumo’ua to clarify his comments.

Hon. Toumo’ua was asked to identify the company or companies that allegedly falsified recording of the number of rocks transported to the roading site.  

He was also asked to clarify whether claims, which were made on Facebook, referred to the  three contractors appointed by the former government to supply rocks.

We asked him to explain what he meant by saying the TP$18 million that had been paid was “imprudent” and to whom it was paid.

The Minister was also asked to clarify what he meant when he said trucks used to transport rocks used two different registration plates. 

Hon Toumo’ua’s claims follow a recent statement by City Engineering and Constructions Ltd boss Saia Moehau to a local news outlet that the Minister did not tell the whole truth in a recent interview when he claimed that a contractor – understood to be Moehau, – submitted an invoice of $1.9 million, but the Ministry’s auditors decided to pay only TP$900,000.

Moehau took the Ministry to court, which ruled in the Ministry’s favour and said it only had to pay TP$860,000.

Moehau also reportedly said the government paid his lawyer TP$15,000 and he was expecting to seek compensation of about TP$14 million from the government through the courts.

PTOA Democratic supporters said the TP$18 million paid to the contractors had been a waste of money as all roads which had been filled and constructed under the project had been completely damaged shortly after their maintenance or construction.

Former Opposition Leader Semisi Sika said at the time the project should be stopped as Tonga could not afford that TP$400 million allocated for the construction and maintenance of all roads in the country within three years.

The former government also facilitated and guaranteed the contractors’ loans from the Tonga Development bank to buy new equipment for the job.  

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