TONGAN JUSTICE MINISTER SACKED

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Taumoepeau fired for improper contract

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 4, 2010) - Tongan Prime Minister Fred Sevele says former Attorney General and Justice Minister 'Alisi Taumoepeau was asked to resign for deliberately misleading Cabinet.

In evidence given to the Princess Ashika Royal Commission, Ms. Taumoepeau claimed she was asked to step down for giving unwelcome advice to the prime minister.

In a television interview, Dr. Sevele rejected that claim, saying Ms. Taumoepeau was involved in renewing the contract for the Chief Justice in 2008, despite the reappointment not having prior approval from Cabinet or the Tongan monarchy, and then attempting to have the contract approved retrospectively.

Dr. Sevele has also accused Ms. Taumoepeau of challenging the Tongan King's constitutional authority to appoint an independent Attorney General.

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