TONGA MINISTER DISMISSES TWO GOVERNMENT BOARDS

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Waste, Timber boards called poorly managed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, March 22, 2011) - Tonga’s Minister for Public Enterprises is preparing to appoint new boards for two state-owned enterprises amid allegations of mismanagement and poor governance in the sector.

Clive Edwards, who took over as Minister in January, says there’ve been significant losses or minimal profits from the government’s commercial enterprises and a culture of non-compliance going back three years.

[PIR editor’s note: Waste Authority Ltd and Tonga Timber Ltd was identified as landing the two highest operational losses of more than US$540,000 for the previous fiscal year.]

Mr. Edwards says he’s going through the 13 companies, and has so far exercised his powers to remove the boards of the Waste Authority and the badly indebted Tonga Timber Limited.

"The true extent of the indebtedness is now starting to emerge. It’s these type of problems where these public enterprises just seem to carry on and believe themselves as part of government and don’t comply with the law."

Clive Edwards says the Public Enterprises Act is toothless and he’s looking at making changes to it.

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