13 May 2013

Tonga criminal clearance probe awaiting overseas information

1:35 pm on 13 May 2013

Tonga's police commissioner Grant O'Fee says an investigation into the wiping of ciminal records is taking longer than expected because he is waiting for the results of overseas enquiries.

Police and the solicitor general launched investigations in February after it was revealed that over a ten-year period to 2011, 172 peoplehad their records cleared by police officers.

Most of the cases involved people with minor convictions wanting to apply for visas to New Zealand and Australia.

Mr O'Fee says because of inadequate record-keeping in Tonga he has had to go back to the United States, Australia and New Zealand to find out who issued the clearances.

"That's just taking those authorities understandably quite a while to locate those documents and until I've got those documents I can't make a really clear decision on just who authorised these so-called clearances to be sent out."

Grant O'Fee says once he has that information he will be in a position to decide on a course of disciplinary action.