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Nuku’alofa – July 12, 2021: 12.20pm (Nuku’alofa Times): Tongan Prime Minister Dr Pohiva Tuioneto’a has confirmed that jailed Minister Akosita Lavulavu is no longer on the government pay roll.

In an interview with Kakalu ‘o Tonga newspaper Hon Dr Tuioneto’a said he had instructed that the former Tourism Minister’s salary be stopped after the Court here in Nuku’alofa sentenced her to 5 years in jail.

Her and husband Etuate Lavulavu were found guilty on charges of obtaining money by false pretences.

The couple owned and ran the educational institution ‘Unuaki ‘o Tonga Royal Institute. They obtained state funding for the training facility, but kept the money.

Prime Minister Tuioneto’a had come under scrutiny for refusing to sack Akosita even after she was found guilty and stated that he had the right to do so under the Constitution.

But in the interview with Kakalu ‘o Tonga Hon Dr Tuioneto’a has confirmed that he had directed that Akosita’s pay be stopped and that she has resigned as a Cabinet Minister.

The Lavulavus were jailed on Friday after their bail applications were thrown out by the Court.

Their lawyers had also applied for an appeal, which are likely to be heard in September this year or March next year.

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