Tongan deputy PM and former PM granted stay

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Tongan deputy Prime Minister Poasi Tei and former Prime Minister Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, both Members of Parliament have each been granted a stay in the execution of their judgements, that declared their election void, until their appeal is heard and determined.

Lord Chief Justice Whitten QC granted Tu’ionetoa’s application for stay of execution on 25 May and the Deputy PM got his granted Thursday,26 May.

The deputy Prime Minister is the Tongatapu 6 People’s Representative; and Tu’ionetoa is the Tongatapu 10 People’s Representative, who were found to have committed bribery, after their respective election petition trials in April and earlier this month.

A total of eight election petitions were filed with the Court in relation to the November 2021 General Elections.

The four who were found to have committed bribery have now all been granted a stay in the execution of their judgements until their appeal.

The first two were the Minister of Finance Tatafu Moeaki [Tongatapu 4 People’s Representative] and Minister of Internal Affairs Sangster Saulala [Tongatapu 7 People’s Representative].

Meanwhile, three election petitions were dismissed (against Tongatapu 1 People’s Representative Tevita Puloka, Tongatapu 2 People’s Representative ‘Uhilamoelangi Fasi and ‘Aisake Eke, Tongatapu 5 People’s Representative).

The only petition pending is a second election petition against Tu’i’onetoa.

The judgements were ex tempore and delivered verbally due to its urgent nature but written judgements to be issued.

It has also not been confirmed when these four Members of Parliament will have their appeals heard.

Meanwhile, Siosiua ‘Utoikamanu and Dr ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki have been appointed as new members of His Majesty’s Privy Council.

A statement from the Office of the Lord Privy Sea Viliami Malolo confirmed the appointments Thursday.

At an earlier meeting this month, the King in Privy Council also accepted the retirement of Lord Tupou K.C. as a member of Privy Council and noted his loyal and faithful service rendered to Privy Council and Government.

Meanwhile, the other Privy Council members are Lord Dalgety, Reverend Semisi Fonua, Brigadier Lord Fielakepa, Lord Tangi ‘o Vaonukonuka, and Reverend Dr Tevita Koloa’ia Havea.

SOURCE: TONGA WIRES/PACNEWS