11 Dec 2015

Tongan minister's bribery trial to continue Monday

3:41 pm on 11 December 2015

The trial to hear an election petition filed against Tonga's Tourism Minister for illegal campaigning and corruption takes a break today but will continue to hear defendant witnesses on Monday.

Matangi Tonga reports 11 witnesses for 'Etuate Lavulavu will give their evidence when the Supreme Court trial continues.

Earlier a local matapule told the court road construction carried out in Lavulavu's constitutency was under the Vava'u Road Council.

The witness said he asked Lavulavu for the help of the Council to repair the roads because they were tired of waiting for one of the complainants who had promised to fix the roads when he was Labour Minister.

An election petition filed against Tonga's Minister of Infrastructure, 'Etuate Lavulavu, for alleged illegal practices will be heard by a Supreme Court judge in July.

Material for 'Etuate Lavulavu's 2014 election campaign. Photo: Facebook

The petitioners had claimed the construction was done by Mr Lavulavu on his own initiative and was used to influence people during his election campaign.

Mr Lavulavu also confirmed he gave money to a local weaving group but said it was never to buy votes.

He says the money was intended to be used for refreshments for a community get together

The trial was adjourned in order for the Chief Justice to return to Nuku'alofa for other commitments.

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