DPM denies PSA head’s allegation he misused Tourism money, says claims based on malice

'Oku taupotu 'i lalo ha fakamatala faka-Tonga

Deputy Prime Minister Sēmisi Sika has denied allegations by PSA head Mele ‘Amanaki that he misused the Ministry of Tourism’s money.

The Deputy Prime Minister said he understood ‘Amanaki was deeply disappointed with the government.

Hon Sika said her allegations were based on malice and were an attempt to discredit the Pohiva government.

He said he had a clean conscience and that he was free from the allegation.

He described the allegation as lies from the beginning to the end.

Hon Sika said he was surprised when he became aware of the allegation when a petition organized by ‘Amanaki was read last month in Parliament.

He said some of the allegation in the petition should have not been brought to Parliament as they could have been resolved outside.

Hon Sika said the TP$1.5 million budget for the Tonga Tourism Authority board was  for the promotion of tourism and nothing was used elsewhere.

He said the money was at the Treasury and any withdrawals made by his Ministry of Tourism they had been recorded.

He said he was concerned that he had to correct the allegation through the news media after it had already been read in Parliament and aired in public.

Hon Sika said ‘Amanaki was his close friend and colleague when they supported the civil servants who went on strike in 2005.

He said he was surprised that ‘Amanaki did not let him know about the allegation and give him a chance to respond.

Hon Sika told Tnews the money at the centre of the allegation had not been audited, but he understood the auditor has worked on it.

The main points

  • Deputy Prime Minister Semisi Sika has denied allegations by PSA head Mele ‘Amanaki that he misused the Ministry of Tourism’s money.
  • He said her allegations were based on malice and were an attempt to discredit the Pohiva government.

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