Four Tongan Nationals Plead Guilty To Passport Forgery Charges

Birth certificate forged for person who does not exist

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 14, 2016) – Four Tongan nationals, including two former civil servants will be sentenced on 11 November after changing their plea to guilty to charges in a Tongan passport forgery trial that began at the Nuku'alofa Supreme Court on 13 September. The case involves a passport application using a forged Tongan birth certificate of a person who does not exist.

Three of the four accused Ola Fieauna Tameifuna (55), Sosefo Sione ‘Ahohako (37) and ‘Isileli Kaumavae (30) changed their plea from not guilty to guilty before the trial was to start before Hon Mr Justice Cato yesterday morning.

A fourth accused Sioeli Heleta (26) retained his innonence and proceeded with trial with the Crown calling its first witness only to change his plea to guilty at the continuation of his trial this morning, Wednesday 14 September.

Birth Certificate

‘Isileli who worked at the Registrar General’s office at the Ministry of Justice pleaded guilty to one court of forgery when he created a Tongan birth certificate for James Connor Tameifuna, a person who does not exist on September 11, 2015.

Ola the only female offender pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining a passport by making a false statement.

The court heard on 6 October last year at Kolofo’ou she wrote a letter to the Tonga Immigration Division stating that James Connor Tameifuna was her son but she knew this to be false.

The Crown represented by Semisi Lutui submitted that the letter by Ola was in support of the Tongan passport application for this non-existent James who had no records.

Sosefo Sione ‘Ahohako who was working at the Magistrate Court's office had also pleaded guilty to obtaining a passport by making a false declaration.

On September 14, 2015 he declared in the passport application for this said James that he had known him for 25-years. He knew this was false, said the Crown.

In addition, Sioeli pleaded guilty to one count of causing to be made a false statement for the purpose of obtaining a passport, when he instructed his co-offender Ola to write a letter to Tonga Immigration stating she was James's mother. He did this knowing it was false.

The court also heard through Crown submission there is a Tongan man by the name of Tuita who is on the run abroad but is in relation to this case.

The judge will sentence the offenders on Friday November 11 this year. Bail was extended.

Matangi Tonga Magazine
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