12 Jul 2003

Tonga police minister lays complaint over Taimi O Tonga story

8:15 am on 12 July 2003

The Tonga police minister, Clive Edwards, has laid a complaint about a Taimi O Tonga newspaper article questioning his place of residence.

The story featured pro-democracy MP, Isileli Pulu, criticsing Mr Edwards for living at the police trainers' quarters, where power, water and telephone bills are paid for by government.

Chief Inspector Lau'aitu Tupouniua says the minister has laid a police complaint about the article claiming it defamed him.

Chief Inspector Tupouniua says Mr Edwards pays for his own telephone calls and also paid for a water tank in the training compound out of his own money.

She says Mr Edwards stays at the quarters sometimes so he can be accessible to staff.

"When parliament starts they are out of the office most of the time. We can only communicate with a minister when he comes back from parliament and that is after hours. I think it would be unwise for someone to coma back to an office after a long day. I think they should be placed at a place accessible to workers to make work flow."