THE Speaker of the Legislative Assembly has accepted Tongatapu 7 constituency MP's plea to reduce suspension from seven to five days from Parliament.

Lord Fakafanua’s decision was based on a letter from Hon. Piveni Piukala asking for reduced suspension to allow him to continue serving his constituent.

The Speaker accepted his plea and was allowed to attend Parliament yesterday. Piukala was also warned and strongly reminded by the Speaker of the need for him to abide by the House Rules of Procedures.

Last Tuesday (20 February 2024) Lord Fakafanua ordered the suspension of Piukala from Parliament for seven days for being disrespectful in Parliament. He was also directed to be excluded from all rooms set for the use of Members including the constituency office and vehicle. And he is not entitled to the portion of his basic salary during his suspension.

On 7 August 2023 Hon. Prime Minister lodged a complaint with the Speaker after Piukala used offensive and unbecoming language against him during a discussion on Lulutai Airline issue.

The Lord Speaker then referred the complaint to the Privileges Committee to investigate and hear evidence. Last week, after considering the accused case the Committee concluded a breach was committed. A recommendation was also made for the Speaker to punish the accused for not more than 14 days. 

According to the Privilege Committee Report for 2024, the members believe that Piukala used offensive language that are rude, degrading, insulting or defamatory against the Prime Minister. And sub-rule (3) provides that Piukala’s his personal reference to the Prime Minister’s private affairs was deemed highly disorderly.

Hon. Piukala was originally suspended until Wednesday (February 28) but has returned to work today upon the Speaker’s approval of his request.

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