TONGA WHISTLE BLOWER ARRESTED

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NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, June 28) – Tongan police have arrested a former employee of Shoreline Power who in March revealed the salaries of the company’s executives.

Piveni Piukala, who left Tonga for Fiji in March after revealing inside information about Shoreline accounts, was arrested in Nuku’alofa yesterday. He had returned to Tonga on Thursday with a Fiji golf team intending to take part in a Heilala golf tournament.

Deputy Commander Taniela Faletau today confirmed the arrest and said that Piukala was being charged under the Computer Crimes Act.

[PIR editor’s note: Shoreline Group Ltd., a Tonga-based conglomerate that controls power, telephone and oil interests in the kingdom along with aviation and other companies, is headed by Crown Prince Tupouto’a.]

Piukala appeared in the Nuku'alofa Magistrate's Court yesterday afternoon before Magistrate Vaha'i Foliaki, and was remanded in police custody. The Magistrate accepted the police submission for the accused to be kept in their custody for 48 hours, so the police could complete their investigation.

Piveni Piukala was the manager of the computer division of Shoreline Power, Tonga's electric power supplier, who in a series of interviews with the Kele'a newspaper in March, revealed the high salaries of executives and problems inside Shoreline.

The Kele'a also published the Shoreline company accounts details, including the details of the directors spending.

It is understood that Piukala took his family to Fiji after making his allegations against Shoreline, and it was reported by the Kele'a at the time that he had been threatened.

Piukala returned to Tonga as the organiser of the Fiji golf team that was to take part in the Heilala Classic Open Amateur Golf Tournament on Tongatapu, this Saturday July 2.

June 29, 2005

Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to

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