25 Jan 2006

Tongan attorney general says convicted speaker to lose job

8:17 pm on 25 January 2006

The Attorney-General in Tonga says the conviction of the speaker of the assembly, Veikune, shows no one is above the law.

Veikune, who is a noble, has been found guilty of bribery of a government servant and attempting to evade customs laws.

The Attorney-General and Justice Minister, Siaosi 'Aho, says no one likes to see a high-profile member of the community involved in criminal activities, especially when the leadership has been criticised.

However Mr 'Aho says there are consequences for wrongdoing and Veikune will almost certainly lose his job.

"The constitution states that no person, having been convicted of a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment for more than two years shall hold any office in the government or be qualified to work or be elected as a representative of the legislative assembly, unless he has received from the king a pardon."

Sentencing for the case will take place on the 15th of February