Tonga’s Finance Minister Hon. ‘Aisake Eke fights back after PSA’s Secretary General, Ms Mele ‘Amanaki recent press release, accusing him for unfair decision, when he reported to the Commission to investigate 3 public servants from the Ministry of Internal Affairs for not complying with the Procurement Policy when implementing a road maintenance project in Nukunuku in 2012. Mele ‘Amanaki went on to say that The Minister reported these public servants to the Commission in 2014 after he was appointed by the former Government as Minister of Finance. Furthermore, Ms ‘Amanaki said that according to the Minister in a press conference late last year, this was done so that the payment of the contractors could be made because the work has been completed. The 3 officers were suspended without pay whilst the investigation was undertaken. She also said that a similar case of non-compliance with the Procurement Policy happened early last year by the former Acting Chief Secretary & Secretary to Cabinet, Mr. ‘Aholotu Palu, who is also the Minister of Finance’s first cousin. Mr. Palu did not procure the interview of the Prime Minister with Forbes held on the 11th of February 2015 nor did he inform the Prime Minister that the interview was going to cost Government about quarter of a million dollars before the interview was conducted. She then went on to accuse The Minister of Finance stating, that instead of referring Mr. Palu to the Commission for investigation for non-compliance to the Procurement Policy, submitted to Cabinet on the 27th April 2015 for the payment to Forbes to be made and a late limited procurement to be considered.
In an email wrote in capital letters sent to all Tongan media outlets yesterday by the Finance Minister, Hon Aisake Eke, showed he’s not impressed with Ms ‘Amanaki’s press release and he fiercely defended himself. The email entitled: “MELE AMANAKI IS MAKING UP ANOTHER LIES FOR FORBES” and that her accusation was blatantly wrong. Below is an extract from Hon. Eke’s email:
“THANK VERY MUCH FOR BRINGING UP THIS ACCUSATION AGAINST ME RELATING TO AHOLOTU WITH REGARD TO PROCUREMENT OF FORBES. YOUR ALLEGATION IS BLATANTLY WRONG.
YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT IT IS THE PRIME MINISTER WHO MADE THE DECISION TO PAY FOR THE PUBLICATION OF THE INTERVIEW IN THE FORBES. DURING THE INTERVIEW WITH THE PRIME MINISTER THE AGENTS FROM FORBES INFORMED THE PM THAT THERE IS A NEED FOR A BUDGET TO PAY FOR THE PUBLICATION OF THE INTERVIEW TO WHICH THE PM TOLD THEM TO CONTACT THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
IF THE PRIME MINISTER TOLD THE FORBES AGENT THAT GOVERNMENT WILL NOT PAY FOR THE PUBLICATION OF THE INTERVIEW THAT WAS THE END OF THIS SAGA AND NO MONEY NEED TO BE PAID AND NO REQUIREMENT FOR PROCUREMENT. THUS YOUR ALLEGATION IS COMPLETELY MISPLACED AT BEST. PLEASE CHECK YOUR FACT BEFORE FALSELY ACCUSING PEOPLE AND MAKING UP LIES”