2 Mar 2018

Tonga police charge charge former PM in passport inquiry

12:50 pm on 2 March 2018

Tonga police have confirmed this morning that they have arrested former prime minister, Lord Tu'ivakano, as part of their ongoing passport investigation.

Tonga's former Prime Minister, Lord Tuʻivakanō.

Tonga's former Prime Minister, Lord Tuʻivakanō. Photo: RNZ Daniela Maoate-Cox

Lord Tu'ivakano, who was prime minister from 2010 to 2014 and speaker in the last parliament and is one of the nobles' MPs in the current legislature, is facing numerous charges, including making a false statement for the purpose of obtaining a passport, perjury, acceptance of a bribe and money laundering.

In a statement, the police commissioner gave no other information but thanked the passport taskforce for its methodical and professional investigation.

The taskforce was set up in 2015 and has made dozens of arrests over alleged passport scams.

More than a dozen people have pleaded guilty to offences.