11 May 2011 The Government of Tonga (GOT) has received an expressed interest on the operations of the Tonga Development Bank (TDB) from Polynesian Investment Funds Pty Limited (PIF) of Australia. As a result of discussions between the two parties, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was reached allowing for a Due Diligence study of the TDB to be conducted soon. A Due Diligence study of PIF will also be carried out.
The Government of Tonga believes that the outcome of the Due Diligence study is beneficial in its efforts of promoting a more transparent and accountable government. Whilst the Due Diligence is currently being undertaken, allegations about negotiations for the sale of the TDB amounts only to speculation.
The results of the work on Due Diligence and possible recommendations for the future of the TDB will have to go through the standard system of due process, which includes vetting by Parliament, and with subsequent directions to the Government of Tonga, on what actions to be undertaken.
In the event that Parliament deems it appropriate for any possible sale of the TDB, the National Reserve Bank will be authorized to carry out the normal tender process, of which PIF can apply through the proper channels. The tender process includes, but is not limited, to the confirmation that all interested bidders possess a valid license as a registered banking organization, in its country of origin.
The Government of Tonga reiterates that allegations of the possible sale of TDB amount to nothing more than mere speculation.
Issued by the: Prime Minister's Office, Nuku'alofa, 2011. (Photo: Talanoa Langi)