22 May 2017

Tonga govt accused of power grab

From , 3:04 pm on 22 May 2017

A former justice minister in Tonga says in attempting to amend the constitution, the government is trying to grab absolute power.

'Akilisi Pohiva's government is proposing an amendment that would see top roles such as the attorney general, police commissioner and anti-corruption commissioner, appointed by the prime minister and cabinet.

Currently, such appointments are made by the privy council and the king.

The former justice minister, Clive Edwards, says he's not entirely against the idea, but recent controversies surrounding Mr Pohiva's government, such as attacks on the public broadcaster and corruption scandals, suggests a worrying motive.

Mr Edwards told Jamie Tahana the current appointment method acts as an important balance against the power of the prime minister.

'Akilisi Pohiva

'Akilisi Pohiva Photo: AFP