29 Jan 2008

Tongan government spokesman says high ranking as a corrupt country is meaningless

2:39 pm on 29 January 2008

An advisor to the Tongan government says a ranking that places Tonga as one of the most corrupt countries in the world is meaningless.

Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures the perceived level of public sector corruption, lists Tonga in the top ten of the countries worst affected by corruption.

Recently, there have been calls for the resignation of Tonga's tourism minister amid accusations he misappropriated ministry funds.

The Prime Minister's political advisor, Lopeti Senituli, says while Tonga's corruption ranking is undeserved, it means nothing.

"We could very well be ranked as the most corrupt country in the world but it has no meaning because the report that they produced has not pointed to where exactly the corruption is and as such if their purpose was to help us fight corruption, then they've done us a great disservice because they have not pointed out exactly where the corruption is."

Lopeti Senituli says the government has established the anti-corruption commission and the office of the ombudsman to fight corruption.