POLICE SEARCH TONGA HUMAN

Tonga Human Rights & Democracy Movement

(Kautaha Ngaue ‘a e Kakai Tonga ki he Totonu ‘a e Tangata & Temokalati)

1st Floor, Siasi ‘o Tonga Building, Fatafehi Road, Kilikali, P.O. Box 843, Nuku‘alofa, Tonga Tel: (676) 25501; Fax: (676) 26330; Email: demo@kalianet.to

RIGHTS & DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT OFFICE AND HOMES OF THRDM MEMBERS

Police on the afternoon of 25 February searched the THRDM office and the homes of ‘Akilisi Pohiva, (THRDM Secretary) and ‘Isileli Pulu (former THRDM Treasurer).  They also arrested and detained ‘Isileli Pulu at his home and Po‘oi Pohiva (THRDM – Liaison Officer) at the THRDM Office.  Both of them are still detained in Police custody.  ‘Akilisi Pohiva was taken in for questioning at the Central Police Station and was later allowed to go home.

Speaking on behalf of THRDM, Lopeti Senituli said, “The Police came with a search warrant issued by Police Magistrate, Salesi Mafi specifying that they were looking for the original of the letter that was supposed to have been signed by deceased ‘Ofa Tu‘i‘onetoa, the former Secretary to His Majesty which suggests that His Majesty has US$ 350 million in personal bank accounts overseas.  The warrants also permitted them to remove the hard discs (hard drives) from the three THRDM computers.”

Lopeti said that in his conversation with one of the Police Officers he was informed that the Police suspect that the letter supposedly signed by ‘Ofa Tu‘i‘onetoa was a forgery and they are therefore looking for those responsible.

Lopeti continued “The Police found in the THRDM office two copies of the letter supposedly signed by ‘Ofa Tu‘i‘onetoa.  One of them was signed the other was not signed.  The unsigned letter was found in a file on the desk formerly used by ‘Isileli Pulu and the signed letter was found in a file on Po‘oi Pohiva’s desk.”

Lopeti said he asked ‘Akilisi on Tuesday morning (26 February) whether he had any knowledge of the unsigned letter and ‘Akilisi told him that the first letter he received anonymously through the mail in September 2000, was the unsigned letter.  He didn’t pay any attention to it.  But then about three weeks later he received the same letter in the mail only this time it had what is supposed to be ‘Ofa Tu‘i‘onetoa’s signature.  This was when he decided it was of the utmost importance that he should write to His Majesty.

Lopeti said that the Office Bearers of the THRDM ( Rev. Simote Vea (Chair) Professor Futa Helu (Deputy Chair) ‘Akilisi Pohiva (Secretary), Finau Tutone (Deputy Secretary) Lopeti Senituli (Director) met on Tuesday (26 Feb) to discuss the issue.

“The Office Bearers of THRDM have agreed that if the letter supposedly signed by ‘Ofa Tu‘i‘onetoa is indeed a forgery then we have made a serious error in judgment and apologise unreservedly to His Majesty King Taufa‘ahau Tupou IV and the people of Tonga.  The Office Bearers also made clear that THRDM will do its best to assist the Police in their efforts to bring the perpetrators of the forgery (if it is indeed a forgery) to justice”, Lopeti said.

The Police on Wednesday afternoon (27 February) formally charged Po‘oi Pohiva and ‘Isileli Pulu under section 172 of the Criminal Offences Act which relates to the use and publishing of a forged document.

Lopeti concluded, “If indeed a forgery has been perpetrated we want to say that our conscience is clear that none of the members of THRDM is involved.  But of course that is for the Court of Law to decide”.

For further information contact Lopeti Senituli on PH: 25501.

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