NUKU’ALOFA, 28 OCTOBER 2019 (KANIVA TOINGA NEWS) — The Tongan Supreme Court had ordered that Former Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakanō must face trial on all but one of the charges brought against him.
Lord Tu’ivakanō has been charged with two counts of money laundering, two counts of perjury, one count of making a false statement for the purpose of obtaining a passport and seven counts of accepting a bribe as a government servant.
He has also been charged with two counts of possession of a firearm without a license and one count of possession of ammunition without a license.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The case has been repeatedly postponed since Tu’ivakano’s arrest in March 2018.
He was committed to stand trial on 22 January this year. Principle Magistrate Mafi dismissed four of the bribery charges, but Lord Chief Justice Paulsen allowed an appeal by the prosecution and reinstated the charges.
On 30 July Lord Tu’ivakanō filed an application to dismiss the money laundering charges (counts one and two) and all the bribery charges (counts six to 12).
Chief Justice Michael Whitten ruled there was insufficient evidence to support count eight, which was dismissed.
The court found there was sufficient evidence for the two money laundering counts and the remaining six counts of accepting bribes as a government official.
These charges are to proceed to trial along with the other courts which were not appealed. (PACNEWS)