Lord Tu’ivakano seat in Parliament unaffected by guilty verdict & sentence
Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 28/04/2020
Even though he has been found guilty by a jury and given a suspended sentence, Former Prime Minister – Lord Tu’ivakano will still retain his seat in Parliament as Number 1 Nobles representative of Tongatapu, in accordance with the constitution of Tonga.
Lord Tu’ivakano was sentenced by Lord Chief Justice Whitten to two years’ imprisonment for one count of making a false statement for the purpose of obtaining a passport and another two years for one count perjury to be served concurrently, but was fully suspended. He was also fined TOP$2,000 for one count of possession of unlicensed ammunition, and another TOP$2,000 for one count of possession of unlicensed firearm, which was the only count he had pleaded guilty to. The fines are to be paid within three months else he is to serve two months’ imprisonment.
Despite this he is still able to retain his parliamentary seat and his title as a noble of the realm. According to Clause 23 of the Act of Constitution of Tonga – the clause on Disabilities of convict –
“No person having been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment for more than two years, shall hold any office under the Government whether of emolument or honor nor shall he be qualified to vote for nor to be elected a representative of the Legislative Assembly”
With that, Lord Tu’ivakano was sentenced to only 2 years’ imprisonment so he would not lose his seat in parliament nor forfeit any
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