7 Feb 2006

Tongan noble loses his title and position as Speaker after being convicted on criminal charges

9:23 pm on 7 February 2006

A Tonga noble has lost his title and his position as the country's Parliamentary Speaker after being found guilty tax evasion and bribery last month..

Siosifa Fatafehi Fuatakifolaha has also lost his hereditary title, Veikune.

It will now go to his eldest son.

The Tonga constitution says no person convicted of a criminal offence punishable by more than two years imprisonment can continue to hold an elected office.

He has been stripped of his position as a noble because the Land Act stipulates that no person convicted of an indictable offence can hold such a title.

A new Speaker is expected to be named soon ahead of a by-election for the former noble's Vava'u seat.