THE Hon. Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism, ‘Etuate Lavulavu will commence work without pay for five months effective in January 2016.
Hon. Lavulavu will also be terminated from his portfolio as Minister of Infrastructure (MOI) and retain his ministerial post him as Tourism Minister.
Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva announced his decision and punishment with regard to the impeachment motion against Lavulavu during a Press Statement to the media at the Convention Centre, Nuku’alofa this afternoon.
In his public statement the PM says it was a very difficult decision to make but it’s the best decision he makes.
Hon. Pohiva said in fact Lavulavu did breach the procurement process relating to the building of foreshores at Vava’u but it was not serious to dismiss him as an MP and a Cabinet Minister.
Public procurement must also adhere to certain principles when managing public funds. However the PM maintained it was evident from the auditor’s report, non-compliance and failure to adhere to the proper procurement process - was performed in the operational level.
It was also noted, although it was carried out in the operational level, the direction may have executed by the MOI Minister.
The PM also pointed out the mismanagement of public funds could have been avoided by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) when facilitating appropriate transactions for restorations and relief works to Talihau foreshore, Koloa and Tu’anekivale causeways.
On January 16 this year, the Cabinet approved for MOI to access the $200,000 Emergency Fund for restorations and relief works at Vava’u.
MOI was also given the green light to implement the relief works assisted by relevant ministries and local communities.
The PM’s decision came after he pleaded with Parliament in October to let him punish Lavulavu a move that was rejected by the House.
In October 22, Lavulavu survived an impeachment motion, although he admitted his wrongs in Parliament.
Nine MPs voted in favour for Hon. Lavulavu to be impeached. They were Vili Hingano, Sāmiu Vaipulu, Lord Fusitu‘a, Lord Tu‘iha‘ateiho, Lord Tu‘iha‘angana, Lord Nuku, Lord Tu‘ilakepa, Lord Vaea and Lord Tu‘i‘afitu.
12 MPs voted against the impeachment motion including Sēmisi Sika, Māteni Tapueluelu, Penisimani Fifita, Veivosa Taka, The Minister of Agriculture Hon. Semisi Fakahau, Inland Revenue Service Minister Hon. Tevita Lavemaau, the Minister of Internal Affairs Hon. Fe’ao Vakata, Minister of Lands and Survey Lord Ma’afu, the Prime Minister Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva, Finance and National Planning Minister Dr. ‘Aisake Eke, Justice Minister – Hon. Vuna Fa’otusia and the Minister for Public Enterprises, Hon. Poasi Tei.
This followed a recent report tabled by the Privilege Committee that determined there is a prima facie case for the accused to answer to in Parliament