11 Mar 2015

Tongan PM must pay costs in private action

5:06 pm on 11 March 2015

A Tongan court has ruled the Prime Minister will have to pay legal costs to the former Prime Minister and others following an unsuccessful criminal appeal over alleged corruption.

Tonga Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva.

Tonga Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva. Photo: RNZ

'Akilisi Pohiva had brought a private criminal appeal against Lord Tu'ivakano in 2013, as well as Justice Minister Clive Edwards, Princess Pilolevu Tuita, and Friendly Islands Satellite Communications Ltd, of which the Princess has a majority share.

They had been charged in 2011 for several offences including theft, conspiracy, aiding and abetting and receiving the sum of 9.2 million US dollars.

Committal proceedings were held, which resulted in the discharge of all four respondents.

Pohiva appealed to the Supreme Court, but it was dismissed in January last year.

On Friday, Justice Scott ruled that it would not be just or reasonable to award costs against the successful defendants.

The amount of the costs for the PM to pay will be established later this week.