CONVICTED TONGA NOBLE SEEKS TO RETAIN TITLE

News Release

Tonga Now Government of Tonga Nukualofa, Tonga December 12, 2007

Noble Veikune will know tomorrow if he is still entitled to the title of Noble Veikune and all the privileges that are associated with the title.

The noble is contesting the title and entitled privileges to the name of Noble Veikune after he was told that he no longer had any rights to it.

On the 25th of January 2006, a jury in the Tonga Supreme Court convicted Noble Veikune of two charges of attempted bribery of a Government official and attempting to avoid paying custom duties.

On that same date, Noble Veikune’s position as speaker of the House was automatically terminated as a result of the conviction.

Two weeks later on 9th February 2006, the Prime Ministers Office issued a statement on the directives regarding the Noble Veikune following his conviction in the Supreme Court.

The statement said that in accordance with Clause 37 of the Land Act, Siosifa Fatafehi Fuatakifolaha Veikune ceased to hold the hereditary Noble Title of the Hon. Veikune as well as his estates.

Also, the statement revealed that in accordance with Clause 38 of the Land Act, on 26th January 2006, the Heir of Veikune Fuatakifolaha will succeed to the Noble Title of Veikune, as well as his estates and in accordance with the normal processes for succession to a hereditary Noble’s Title.

In his appearance in the Supreme Court at the end of October this year, Noble Veikune said that he believed that due to his conviction, he would only lose his membership in the Legislative Assembly and his position as Speaker of the House, not his title and estates.

Noble Veikune said that he was still entitled to his title and estates and they had not been stripped off him because His Majesty King George Tupou V still addressed official invitations to him using his title of Noble Veikune, and this was so up until October of this year.

Justice Andrew asked Noble Veikune if he had used his title from the day of his installment to date, to which he replied in the affirmative.

Siosifa Fatafehi Fuatakifolaha Veikune was installed with the title and estates of Noble Veikune by the late Queen Salote Tupou III in 1965.

Of those who were installed as Nobles by the late Queen Salote, only Noble Veikune and Baron Vaea are living to this day.

Justice Andrew will give his ruling on this matter in the Supreme Court II at 9.30am tomorrow.

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