17 Jan 2008

More calls for Tongan minister to be suspended during corruption probe

4:30 pm on 17 January 2008

Calls are growing for the Tongan Prime Minister to suspend the tourism minister while an investigation into allegations of corruption is completed.

The Auditor General is investigating allegations, made by the director of tourism, that the minister, Fineasi Funaki, misappropriated funds from the ministry.

People's representative Akilisi Pohiva says it is time for the Prime Minister to show up and respond to the allegations.

"To me, I have no doubt in my mind that all the the allegations are true, based on the documents produced to support all the allegations. What the Government should have done, the Prime Minister, he should have suspended [the minister]. And not only that, he should go home....he's directly responsible [for] all these things."

People's representative Akilisi Pohiva.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister's office says suspending the Minister is not the proper way forward.

He says the Government doesn't want to pre-empt the findings of the Auditor General and it is fairer to wait for the investigation to be completed.