No Response By Tonga Police Minister On Alleged Misconduct
NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Feb. 20, 2013) – A disciplinary committee of the Tonga Law Society who is challenging the Minister of Police, Prisons and Fire Services and Revenue, Siosifa Tu'utafaiva has not received his written submission in regards to alleged professional misconduct that was due on Friday, February 15.
Vice-President of the Tonga Law Society Vuna Fa'otusia said today, the committee would give him until Friday February 22 before they settle the matter and decide on a new recommendation to the Chief Justice.
"We had agreed with Sifa that he submit his written submission to the committee by February 15 but he has not done that," said Vuna.
Last year, the disciplinary committee recommended to the Chief Justice to suspend Siosifa Tu'utafaiva's law practicing license for three years for alleged professional misconduct.
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.
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 judge stated that the appellant should have been warned beforehand that the committee would proceed to consider penalty immediately after any finding of guilty, or the hearing be adjourned to give him a final opportunity to make recommendations as to penalty.
The complainants filed their complaint with the law society stating they had paid Sifa fees to file their claims in court which he did not do.
Sifa is a senior law practitioner, a member of Parliament and a new Cabinet Minister as of February 2.
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