Police charge Minister of Internal Affairs and husband with fraud

Police have arrested Minister of Internal Affairs and her husband and charged them with fraud.

Police commissioner Stephen Caldwell,  has confirmed that the Honourable Minister of Internal Affairs Mrs. ‘Akosita Havili Lavulavu, 33, and her husband, the former Minister of Infrastructure, Mr. ‘Etuate Sisitoutai Lavulavu aka ‘Etuate Sungalu Lavulavu, 59, were arrested today on various fraud related charges.

The charges are three counts for obtaining by false pretences, contrary to section  164 of the Criminal Offences Act and three counts of knowingly dealing with forged documents, contrary to section 172 of the Criminal Offences Act.

Commissioner Stephen Caldwell said the charges relate to a referral made to Tonga Police by the Auditor General over a number of irregularities in an audit of ‘Unuaki ‘o Tonga Royal Institute in 2016.

As Kaniva News reported, the Auditor General’s office has recommended that the ‘Unuaki ‘o Tonga Royal Institute be referred to the police after massive discrepancies were found in its accounts.

The Institute, which began operations in 2004, was set up by disgraced former politician and Minister for Infrastructure, Etuate Lavulavu.

“The Auditor General’s office said hundreds of students supposedly attending the private school could not be identified and that the Institute should repay TP$553,800 to the Technical  Vocational Education and Training fund (TVET).”

Commissioner Caldwell said he wanted to send a clear message that no one is above  the law and the law would be enforced without fear or favour by the Tonga Police.

Matters are now before the courts and no further comment is to be made.

For further information:

Auditor General demands repayment as hundreds of students at private school can’t be found

Supreme Court finds Lavulavu guilty of bribery and calls his evidence ‘untruthful’  

Hon Lavulavu denies he told mechanical supervisor to fake TP$1 million valuation, threatens legal action

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