TONGA'S SPEAKER FUSITU‘A FILES DEFAMATION SUIT

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NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (October 16, 1998 - Radio Australia)---The Speaker of Tonga's Legislative Assembly, the Noble Fusitu‘a, has filed a defamation suit against commoner representative and newspaper and magazine publisher ‘Akilisi Pohiva.

The action, filed with the Supreme Court of Tonga, alleges that a report in Kele'a magazine caused the Speaker pain and anguish, and damaged his reputation.

The report alleges that the Speaker deliberately withheld audit reports from Parliament that may have incriminated him.

The allegation was also made in a petition to Tonga's King Taufa‘ahau Tupou IV, who ordered Parliament to investigate the claim.

The Speaker is claiming more than US$ 80,000 in damages, in what is the latest in a series of criminal and civil actions against Mr. Pohiva by the Government and Assembly members.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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