21 Jan 2008

Calls mount in Tonga for the tourism minister to resign

11:18 am on 21 January 2008

Calls are mounting in Tonga for the tourism minister to resign, but the Prime Minister is standing by the minister.

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

A second anonymous allegation also named the Prime Minister, Dr Feleti Sevele.

The Prime Minister condemned the anonymous allegation and said he had nothing to fear.

"And in fact it has been discussed, and there's a process on at the moment. But i have absolutely no faith in a person who is making allegations and not revealing his true identity. Don't you think? That that would be the gentlemanly thing to do. He will be protected by the law. If what he says is true, then I should be punished for that corruption."

Dr Sevele says he is confident the auditor general can do his job independently, and he is following due process.