20 Mar 2014

Jail sentence in Tonga for civil servant involved in passport scam

11:38 am on 20 March 2014

A former senior Tongan Immigration officer and a woman co-accused have received jail sentences for the attempted forgery of two Tongan passports.

'Oto Tu'itupou and Sofia Laukau were sentenced by Justice Charles Cato in the Nuku'alofa Supreme Court earlier this week.

The two had earlier pleaded guilty to charges relating to a passport scam.

Radio Tonga reports Tu'itupou, who was an immigration officer with the government, obtained and gave two uncompleted passports to Laukau, whose role was to arrange a third party to insert photos and details of a Chinese national into the documents.

Laukau promised the third party they would receive up to the equivalent of about 5 and a half thousand US dollars from the scam.

Judge Cato says the offending had the potential to bring Tonga into disrepute.