TONGA PROBES ALLEGED MISUSE OF CHINA CONTRIBUTION

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NUKU΄ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Jan. 28, 2008) - An investigation by the Government's Auditor General Dr. Pohiva Tu΄i΄onetoa into the alleged misuse of funds by the Minister of Tourism Honorable Fineasi Funaki, is ongoing.

The Minister of Information Honorable ΄Afu΄alo Matoto said today, he is still waiting on the Auditor's General report and he had not received any indication on when an outcome might be released, but he expected it soon. The allegation was leaked to a Tongan newspaper on January 3.

΄Afu΄alo said he was not aware of the investigation details but he said that the Auditor General was waiting more information on the matter.

The Minister of Information has requested that the Prime Minister allow the outcome on the investigation to be made public.

The alleged misuse of funds by the Minister of Tourism was contained in a letter of complaint by Chief Executive Officer Edgar Cocker to the Prime Minister Honorable Dr. Feleti Sevele.

It alleged the misuse of a 3,000 pa΄anga [US$1,470] check donated by the Chinese Embassy as a contribution towards a three-days Tongatapu Festival that was scheduled to run from December 26 to 28, 2007. The festival was later cancelled.

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