Home / THE PUBLIC SERVICE / From Justice Department / Former AG/Justice Minister Misled Cabinet

Former AG/Justice Minister Misled Cabinet

E-mail Print PDF

Former Attorney General and Minister for Justice had Deliberately Misled Cabinet

05 Feb 2010. Media Release.

The Prime Minister, Dr. Feleti Vaka’uta Sevele, revealed, in an interview with Kalafi Moala of TMN Television earlier this week, that the former Attorney General and Minister for Justice, ‘Alisi Taumoepeau, was asked to resign because she had deliberately misled Cabinet by concealing the truth, and for challenging His Majesty’s constitutional authority to appoint an independent Attorney General.

The Prime Minister’s statement was in response to questions put to him by Kalafi Moala, regarding statements made by the former Cabinet member to the Ashika Royal Commission that implied that she had been asked to resign from Cabinet because the Prime Minister did not like the advice she gave him, and, that it was normal practice in government that if responsible ministers or officials say something to the Prime Minister that he does not like he asks them to resign, step aside or somehow forces them out of their position.

The Hon Prime Minister said that in June and again in August 2008 the former Attorney General and Minister for Justice made a submission to Cabinet for the renewal of the contract of the Chief Justice, before further submission to His Majesty in Privy Council. After lengthy discussions in June and August, Cabinet decided not to support her submission and deferred the matter. After the Cabinet meeting in August 08, the Prime Minister was given a copy of the contract for the renewal of the Chief Justice’s contract, by an anonymous source, which had been signed by the Secretary for Justice and the Chief Justice in May 2008, without legal authority. When confronted by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and Chief Secretary to Cabinet, as to why she had not informed Cabinet of the truth, the former Attorney General and Minister for Justice said that the contract was illegal and that she had already thrown it in the rubbish bin, and that the Secretary for Justice had been pressured by the Chief Justice to sign the agreement.

Dr. Sevele said, “It was very clear to me that she had deliberately misled Cabinet by intentionally withholding the truth from it. She knew that an agreement had already been signed in May 08 renewing the Chief Justice’s contract without the prior approval of Cabinet and His Majesty in Council. Rather than informing me or Cabinet of this illegal activity, she made matters worse by her attempts to have that illegal agreement approved retrospectively. That alone was ample ground for instant dismissal from Cabinet. ”

The Hon Prime Minster also said that the former Attorney General and Minister for Justice had also challenged His Majesty’s constitutional authority to appoint an independent Attorney General, this being part of the Government’s wider, and on-going political reform process. The Prime Minister and Cabinet maintain that His Majesty has the full authority to appoint any Minister, Privy Councilor and Attorney General, at His sole discretion, the same way that he had appointed ‘Alisi Taumoepeau as Attorney General and Minister for Justice – which she gladly accepted.

Ends

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Issued by: The PMO Website Bureau, Prime Minister's Office, P.O. Box 62, Nuku'alofa, Tonga.

Telephone: (676) 24 644 Fax: (676) 23 888 Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated ( Friday, 08 March 2013 12:47 )  

Who's Online

We have 147 guests online