Headlines
Published On:February 28, 2018
Posted by Staff Report

Tongan Mp resigns as Minister of Police, Customs and Revenue

The Minister of Police and Customs and Revenue, Hon. Māteni Tapueluelu, resigned from his ministerial posts today.
Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva confirmed to Kaniva News that he had received Tapueluelu’s resignation letter this afternoon.
Hon. Pōhiva  said Hon. Tapueluelu tendered his resignation because he believed Police Commissioner Steve Caldwell had not done enough in the way he addressed allegations of corruption in the Ministry of Police.
Hon. Pōhiva said Hon. Tapueluelu was also disappointed because he believed there was a lack of support from Cabinet members about a proposal he initiated to submit to the Public Service Commission to terminate Caldwell’s contract.
Tapueluelu told Kaniva News last week he was concerned at how cases regarding suspended Police officers were treated by the Police Commissioner.
“I am greatly concerned with the visibly uneven application of the suspension law on police officers. It can imply unfairness and bias and affect morale. In fact it has,” Tapueluelu said.
As Kaniva News reported last week, complaints were raised last month in a petition to Hon. Tapueluelu about Caldwell by a group of suspended policemen.
Caldwell told us the complaints “were not new.”
“The suspensions and continuation of suspensions are for very good reasons,” he said.
Hon. Tapueluelu later issued a statement that appeared to at last partly support the petitioners.
The Minister said that if the Commissioner did nothing, then corruption could cause chaos in the police force.
“I have waited far too long with hope that these internal fights can be solved in a timely and impartial manner,” Hon. Tapueluelu.
“Unfortunately Tonga lacks what New Zealand has, that is an Independent Police Conduct Authority which is not part of the police, but has the authority to investigate the police impartially.
“We do not want the watchers to watch themselves.
“There is a tough call on the Ministry to bring the force together and not split it in half with measures that appear highly questionable.
“However I am barred by law from getting involved. Tonga’s Ombudsman and Auditor General are also barred by law from investigating police. So investigation of high ranking officers are done internally. What can go wrong? A lot.
“I am at the end of my waiting and time may force me to action. At some point the nation will have to come before my Ministry.”
The main points
  • The Minister of Police and Customs and Revenue, Hon. Māteni Tapueluelu, resigned from his ministerial posts today.
  • Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva confirmed to Kaniva Newsthat he had received Hon. Tapueluelu’s resignation letter this afternoon.
  • Pōhiva  said Hon. Tapueluelu tendered his resignation because he believed Police Commissioner Steve Caldwell had not done enough in the way he addressed allegations of corruption in the Ministry of Police.
Source: Kaniva News

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