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Tonga’s Internal Affairs Minister, husband face fraud-related charges

Tonga Police arrested Minister of Internal Affairs, ‘Akosita Lavulavu and her husband, the former Minister of Infrastructure, ‘Etuate Lavulavu Saturday for 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.

According to a Kaniva News report, the institute was set up in 2004 by former politician and Minister for Infrastructure, Etuate Lavulavu.

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.

Police declined to make any further comments saying the matter is now before the courts.

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