19 Jan 2005

Former Tongan minister claims his sacking linked to alleged coup plot

1:44 pm on 19 January 2005

Tonga's former police minister, Clive Edwards, says he was sacked last year after the King's sons accused him of plotting to overthrow the government.

Mr Edwards, who is contesting the March general election for one of the three Tongatapu People's Representatives' seats, has told Matangi Tonga magazine that he was accused of leading a group of ministers opposed to Tongan government policies, particularly the proposed one airline policy.

The policy cleared the way for Crown Prince, Tupouto'a, to own the kingdom's only airline

Mr Edwards said the Prime Minister, Prince Ulakala Lavaka Ata, ordered him to resign.

Mr Edwards says he did not want to resign because he had been wrongly accused and because he believed the King did not know what was going on.

He says the Prime minister's claim that he was planning a coup was ridiculous.