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Cabinet reshuffle follow sacking of two ministers

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 04/09/2017


Just after a week from taking over as interim government, two Ministers have been sacked and a cabinet reshuffle has been effective.


Deputy Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni and Finance Tevita Lavemaau, were dismissed last Friday, September 1st prior to the Prime Minister’s departure to Samoa for the Pacific Islands Forum.


Lord Ma’afu has been appointed the new Interim Deputy Prime Minister and Chief Minister while Hon. Poasi Tei takes over the Ministry of MEIDECC.


Dr. Pohiva Tu’I’onetoa is the new Finance Minister.


It is understood the new portfolios are additional to the Ministers current responsibilities.


Lord Ma’afu told RNZ he was not aware of his appointment and the reshuffle.

He said if it was true, he’s not sure what use it would be after the king’s decision last week to dissolve parliament and call a general election.


On another development The Prime minister denied in a news conference last week a question raised by Viola Ulakai of Radio and Television Tonga whether some of his ministers were being investigated.


He replied that he was satisfied and calm and all the Ministers were still in cabinet.


The Police Minister and PM’s son in law Mateni Tapueluelu told Radio Tonga News last week that some ministers had been investigated for the possibility they had known about the advice to dissolve parliament.


Speaking to overseas media about the Minister’s dismissal, the Prime Minister said he suspected his rejection of a proposal by the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister to spend T$60,000 on the opening of the St George Palace has turned the duo against him.


He said some of the Ministers who attended the cabinet meeting didn’t approve the proposal as they thought it was a huge amount of money to be spent on the ceremony.


Hon. Lavemaau in response, said it isn’t hard for an ordinary person to figure out that 60 thousand is too much to be spent in an opening ceremony which is for two or three hours only.


He was speaking from his office because he had to report to work as he didn’t receive the dismissal letter until 10 am today.


The cabinet Minister’s dismissal appeared to have not gone through cabinet before they were made, as they shocked some of the Ministers who only found about the decision from Kaniva news last Saturday.


© Radio and Television Tonga News