Tonga Minister’s Alleged Misconduct Under Review
NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Feb. 13, 2013) – Tonga's new Minister of Police, Prisons and Fire Services and Revenue Services, Siosifa Tu'utafaiva, is being challenged by a disciplinary committee of the Tonga Law Society.
Last year, 2012, the disciplinary committee recommended to the Chief Justice to suspend Siosifa Tu'utafaiva's law practicing license for three years for alleged professional misconduct.
Chief Justice Hon. Michael Scott, in a judgment on 4 December 2012, quashed the recommendation and referred the matter back to the committee for the matter of penalty to be reconsidered according to law.
The Vice-President of the Tonga Law Society Vuna Fa'otusia said today, February 13, the committee was now waiting on Sifa's written response in regards to the complaint, which should be submitted by Friday February 15. After that they will make a new recommendation.
The disciplinary committee consisted of Tonga Law Society President Laki Niu, Petunia Tupou and Vuna. The complaints came from two of Sifa's former clients 'Aisea Vaitaki and Sione Vao.
Sifa, who is a senior law practitioner and Member of Parliament, became the new Minister of Police, Prisons and Fire Services and Revenue Services on February 2.
When Sifa appealed the recommendation, Chief Justice Scott , quashed the recommendation and returned it to the disciplinary committee.
"In my view the appellant should either have been warned beforehand that the committee would proceed to consider penalty immediately after any finding of guilt or the hearing should have been adjourned to give the appellant a final opportunity to make representations as to penalty," he said.
Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/
Go back to Pacific Islands Report