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CJ dismissed application for interim stay of investigation on TCC’s CEO

(Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 30/11/2016)

Chief Justice dismissed the application for interim stay of an investigation on Tonga Communication Corporation’s (TCC) CEO by the Public Relations Commission.

The investigation is related to a concern from the Prime Minister Hon. ‘Akilisi Pōhiva last year for the plaintiff’s conduct.

Sixty employees of TCC alleged their CEO has attitudinal problems towards female staff as well as misuse of his power which was also referred to the Commission by TCC Board.

Jurangpathy applied to the Supreme Court for an interim stay of the investigation by the Commissioner until the ruling of a defamation case against Kele’a newspaper, editor, publisher and a reporter on the same issue.

He submitted that natural justice is not observed, jurisdiction of the commissioner for the investigation is exceeded and seems the outcome of the defamation case and the investigation can vary.

He also suggested that a cross examination of the witnesses cannot be found during the investigation.

Chief Justice Owen Paulsen in his ruling said he dismisses the application for stay as it is not a judicial review or another case but it is just an investigation.

He said the commission will only conduct the investigation and present finding and recommendation but not ruling.

Paulsen continued saying the Commissioner is not a judge to undertake a cross examination of witnesses.

He said lack of transparency occurred from confusion during the hearing of the case specify the letter to the plaintiff did not make it clear that it is upon the referral from the Prime Minister not the complaints from the employees.

He says those are the steps that could have easily been taken and may possibly avert the action.

© Radio & TV Tonga News 2016