19 January 2012
Statements made by the Tonga Audit Office on New Zealand development assistance to Tonga not official Tongan government statements
The Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano has confirmed that the recent statements made in the media by the Tonga Audit Office relating to New Zealand assistance to Tonga, are not official statements of the Government of Tonga.
The independent auditing of the funds commissioned by the New Zealand Government on Tonga's Constitutional and Electoral Reform program was undertaken at the initiative of the New Zealand Government and fully endorsed by the Tongan Government in late 2011. The independent audit was in response to a report made by the Tonga Audit Office which raised questions whether it was the result of poor administration or fraud.
At the completion of the investigation, the independent auditors found no evidence of fraud or foul play, but found fault with poor record keeping. Both the New Zealand and Tonga Governments are satisfied and accept the results of the comprehensive investigation into assistance provided by the New Zealand Government towards Tonga's transition to democracy and political reform.
The return of unspent funds to donors by the Tonga Government is normal practice where there is unspent money from a project.
The Government of Tonga works well with all development partners in an open, transparent and accountable manner and looks forward to the continuation of this.