15 Jan 2008

Calls for Tonga tourism minister to step aside amid corruption probe

2:06 pm on 15 January 2008

The pro-democracy movement in Tonga is calling for the Minister of Tourism to step aside, at the very least, while an investigation into allegations of corruption against him are complete.

The Auditor General is investigating allegations that the minister, Fineasi Funaki, misappropriated funds from the ministry.

The director of tourism made some of the allegations.

The director of the Office of Human Rights and Pro-democracy movement, Akanete Lauti, says the minister should not remain in his position while the investigation is ongoing.

"We believe that the Prime Minister and Fineasi are entangled in a lot of things and the morale of the people [is] pretty low, and the trust in Government is pretty low as well. So with all these allegations, we believe there is something bigger that we need to know."

Akanete Lauti says it is frustrating waiting for the investigation to be complete, with no information being released about its progress.