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Cabinet Ministers signing contracts could lead them to corrupt practices

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 16/03/2017

The former Prime Minister, Lord Tu’ivakano has responded to the Prime Minister’s statement on why he didn’t support the appointment of Ministers from outside Parliament.

This was after the Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva in a news conference said they signed with members of his Cabinet on a contract not to select someone from outside but only within his 17-member cabinet elected by the people to parliament.

During Lord Tu’ivakano’s government in 2010, two Ministers were selected from outside parliament – Dr ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki and William Clive Edwards.

Lord Tu’ivakano said this move was legal and under the provision of the constitution for a Prime minister to do so and they had the expertise and experience for the posts.

PM Pohiva told reporters that’s why he resigned as Minister of Health in 2010 because it was his first submission to parliament to void the appointment of the two Ministers who were not elected by the people.  Since nothing happened, he resigned from cabinet.

Lord Tu’ivakano in his response said, Tonga was socially and politically sound from the beginning right from the foundation laid by Lo’au up to the reign of King George Tupou the first and with the arrival of Christianity the King, nobility and people were never separated, but united.

He said the spirit of the traditional four golden strands was tied by good relationships and the country was safe and secure.

Lord Tu’ivakano said such statement was only made to lead the people away from the real issue which is to put aside the constitution and legislation to allow the leader to have his own way and individual decision.

He said, the contracts they signed was a swear into allegiance and was an avenue for their freedom to be exercised and could easily lead to corrupt practices.

A Minister is free to seek better position and wealth and neglect the real reason they were elected to parliament.

And if a member of that allegiance breaks away, that member will be sacked or removed from the contract, and that’s what happened to Dr. Aisake Valu Eke.

He concluded by saying its vital that nobles support and keep solidarity with people for they represent the people everywhere including parliament.

© Radio and Television Tonga News