Crown Law

CROWN LAW DEPARTMENT

BACKGROUND:

The Crown Law Department was created by His Majesty's Government in 1988 to replace the Crown Solicitor's Office.

Before then, the Crown Solicitor's Office had provided legal services for His Majesty's Government.

The office of the Attorney General was then created as the Ministerial Head of Crown Law, and the office of the Solicitor General was created as the Head of Department for the new Crown Law.

The first Attorney General was Hon Tevita Poasi Tupou, who was before then the Crown Solicitor. The first Solicitor General was Mr 'Aisea Havea Taumoepeau.

The role of Crown Law since 1988 has been to provide to His Majesty's Government with the traditional legal services provided by the Law Officers, including legal advice, litigation (prosecutions, and civil and land matters), and legisaltive drafting.

Since November 2006, Crown Law has further taken up the role of increasing legal literacy within the community.

Despite dealing with on-going issues of lack of resources and high turn-over of legal staff, Crown Law has been able to continue the provision of legal services to His Majesty's Government and the people of the Kingdom, with professionalism and integrity.

FUNCTIONS & DUTIES:

The Attorney General is the First Law Officer for the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga. The Attorney General is not a Minister of the Crown, and will thus not be a member of Cabinet, Privy Council, or the Legislative Assembly of Tonga. The Attorney General however will still hold the same powers and privileges of a Minister of the Crown.

The change of the nature of the office of Attorney General from the previous appointment is an initiative by His Majesty to ensure that the Attorney General performs his legal functions independent of Government, as part of His Majesty's vision for Constitutional Reform and Good Governance.

The Attorney General's main responsibility is to direct the legal services provided by the Crown Law Department for the Government. These legal services include the following:

  • Providing legal advice to His Majesty's Cabinet, Government Ministries, and Departments
  • Drafting legislation for Government to be submitted to the Legislative Assembly
  • Conducting criminal prosecutions on behalf of the Crown (The Crown meaning his Majesty the King and the community at large)
  • Representing the Crown in civil, land, and where appropriate, family litigation
  • Performing law officers roles for the Judiciary and
  • Facilitating community law initiatives promoting the rule of law and legal awareness

In addition to the Crown Law Department's legal services, the Attorney General will also be responsible for the following:

  • Supporting constitutional integrity and governance
  • Ensuring legislative and statutory efficacy
  • Facilitating Government's lawful and responsible legal dealings
  • Providing legal advice on law reform
  • Executing statutory enforcement powers and
  • Performing responsibilities in an independent and transparent manner

The Solicitor General is the deputy to the Attorney General, and is the Head of Department of the Crown Law Department. He is responsible for implementing the directions of the Attorney General, and the daily administration and operations of the Crown Law Department.

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE:

Hon. Samiu Kuita Vaipulu - Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Justice, Transport and Works, and Acting Attorney General

Mr. ‘Aminiasi Kefu -  Solicitor General

CONTACT INFORMATION:'Aminiasi Kefu

Solicitor General
Address:

Crown Law Department
PO Box 85, Lavinia Road,

Nuku'alofa

Kingdom of Tonga

Telephone:
(676) 25 347
Fax:
(676) 24 005
Mobile Phone:
(676) 771 5314



APGML Committee on Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing Activies adopts Tonga's Report

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26 July 2010 - The Committee on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Activities Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering adopts Tonga's First Mutual Evaluation Report.

COMMITTEE ON MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING ACTIVITIES
ASIA PACIFIC GROUP ON MONEY LAUNDERING ADOPTS TONGA'S FIRST MUTUAL
EVALUATION REPORT

On Thursday 14 July 2010 the plenary meeting of the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering
(APGML) adopted Tonga's first mutual evaluation report on Tonga's anti-money-laundering and
combating terrorist financing (AML/CFT) framework. The APGML is a 40 member regional body of
countries in the Asia and Pacific region.
The mutual evaluation report was produced by a 5 member team of experts from Hong Kong,
Australia, New Zealand, Cook Islands and the APGML Secretariat, who were in Tonga for two weeks in
early November 2009 to undertake the evaluation. This team gathered information by meeting the Tongan
government and other stakeholders.
The main objective of the APGML is to ensure that its member countries have enacted laws and
established institutions that are able to effectively protect its country from money laundering and the
financing of terrorism. In particular, each country is required to comply with 40 recommendations and 9
special recommendations established by the Financial Action Task Force on money laundering and
terrorist financing. The Financial Action Task Force is the international governmental body that sets up
the minimum standards required to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism. These minimum
standards are expected to be complied with by APGML member countries including Tonga.
The FATF and the APGML were established by G7 country leaders due to their recognition that
money laundering and the financing of terrorism has the potential of causing significant damage to the
national, regional and international banking and financial sectors, and could also encourage illegal
activities and illegal goods to be moved around the world.
According to Ms Siosi Mafi, the Governor of the National Reserve Bank of Tonga, who was the
Head of Tonga's Delegation to the APGML annual meeting, "The adoption of Tonga's mutual evaluation
report was a significant step forward for Tonga's legal and financial systems. This now means that Tonga
has been formally measured against internationally accepted standards, and Tonga is now recognised as
part of the regional and international network in the fight against AML/CFT."
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She added that, "The main challenge now is for the Tongan Government and authorities to carry
out legislative, policy and financial reforms to strengthen the weaknesses in Tonga's AML/CFT
framework, which were identified in the evaluation report. If we fail to do so, Tonga's banking and
financial system, border control system, and legal enforcement system will be deemed unreliable and
would have serious international implications and consequences. It could affect the international
relationships of Tonga with other APG member countries, such as banking relationship, foreign aid,
foreign investment, etc. We certainly do not want Tonga to become a haven for money launderers and
perpetrators of illegal activities".
Before undergoing the mutual evaluation, the Government's Committee on Money Laundering
and Financing of Terrorist Activities had prepared the necessary legislative reforms in order to make
Tonga more compliant. However, due to priorities being given to the national political reform process,
and the scheduling of Tonga's evaluation for November 2009, the Committee deliberately made a
strategic decision to defer enacting these legislative amendments in order for the evaluation process to
identify all the necessary legislative amendments required by Tonga to be processed. This move was
recognised by the plenary and Tonga has been encouraged to enact these legislative amendments as soon
as possible and draw up a strategic implementation plan of action to make Tonga more compliant. Tonga
is required to report back to next year's annual meeting its strategic implementation plan.
Tonga's delegation also included the Solicitor General, Mr ‘Aminiasi Kefu, and Ms ‘Ungatea
Latu, Acting Manager of the Financial Institutions and Markets Department of the National Reserve Bank
of Tonga.
The plenary meeting of the APGML was held from 12 to 16 July, and was hosted by the
Government of Singapore at the Suntec City Convention Centre.

ENDS


Released by:
The Secretariat
Committee on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Activities
c/ Crown Law Department
NUKU'ALOFA
3
For further information, please contact:
The Solicitor General
Crown Law Department
Lavinia Road
NUKU'ALOFA
Telephone: (676) 24055/24007
Facsimile: (676) 24005
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 
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