Lawyer Fonua resigns amid PSC probe; EC complains to Tonga Law Society

'Oku taupotu 'i lalo ha fakamatala faka-Tonga

Electricity Commissioner (EC) Lawyer Seinimili Tu‘i‘onetoa Fonua who was at the centre of an inquiry by the Public Service Commission (PSC) and a complaint to Tonga Law Society has resigned.

In a resignation letter emailed on Thursday 2 August to the EC chairman and other Commissioners at EC Fonua wrote in Tongan: “Fakamalo & Tatau atu.”

This translates into English as: “Thanks & I resign.”

Fonua said she had been forced to quit so that the EC could independently perform its responsibilities.

She thanked Commissioner Sōane Vahe, Secretary Meleseini Folau and staff for the time they had in the Commission.

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Two days after she resigned, the EC’s Interim CEO Paula Tupou lodged a complaint to the Tonga Law Society regarding the legality of Fonua’s employment contract with EC while at the same time she was being employed by the Ministry of Public Enterprises as Deputy CEO.

In his letter of complaint to the president of the Law Society, Tupou wrote: “I believe that Seinimili Tuionetoa Fonua has acted well below expected standard and break the law in at least one occasion as alleged.”

As we reported last night, Tupou said Fonua should have resigned from the Commission when she accepted employment with the Ministry of Public Enterprises on October 30 last year because she was allegedly in breach of the PSC Acts.

About two weeks before Fonua’s resignation, the PSC inquired about the times and dates Fonua has attended the Commission’s affairs in her capacity as a lawyer and a commissioner.

As Kaniva reported last week, Fonua has sued Tupou for unruly behaviour in a public place.

Six charges have been laid against Tupou.

Tupou said the hearing has been postponed for the second time at Fonua’s requests to September 3.

Fonua was appointed as an EC Commissioner by Cabinet in October 2017.

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