Tonga’s first Anti-Corruption Commissioner, a New Zealander, Chris LaHatte, was sworn into office before the Tonga Cabinet on Friday 05 July 2024.

LaHatte, a lawyer from Wellington, was appointed by the King in Privy Council on 28 March this year.

In announcing the establishment of the Office of the Anti-Corruption Commissioner, the Tonga Government stated that it was a significant milestone in the nation’s ongoing commitment to promoting transparency, integrity, and accountability in public office.

The first Executive Director of the office, Tongan lawyer, Mele Fakatouato Mangisi, was appointed in June to lead the office, which commenced operations last week on Monday 01 July.

It has taken 17 years for the office to be established, since the passing of the Tongan legislation in September 2007.

The Office of the Anti-Corruption Commissioner is an independent body responsible for investigating and preventing corruption within Tonga. It operates with the authority to review, investigate, and recommend actions and/or prosecute against corrupt practices of persons holding or who have held public office. Its establishment is expected to make a profound impact on enhancing integrity for public office.

LaHatte’s qualifications include an LLB from Auckland, an MMgt in Dispute Resolution (Massey), and a Post Graduate Certificate in Restorative Justice from Victoria University of Wellington. He is a Fellow of both the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ) and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).

LaHatte’s extensive professional experience includes practice as a barrister, mediator, and Ombudsman. He is a family man, with three children and one granddaughter.

Mangisi’s qualifications include an LLB from Waikato, a Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Legal Studies from Auckland, and a Master of Public Policy from the Australian National University.