Published on Matangi Tonga (
Accusations fly as Tonga Tourism Authority Board clashes with new Tourism minister [1]
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 20:07.  Updated on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 20:43.
A complaint has been lodged with Tonga's Public Relations Commission last week against the Minister for Tourism, Hon. Semisi Sika accusing him of an
“illegal takeover” of the Tonga Tourism Authority Board, according to Tomifa Paea, the TTA chairman who said he filed the complaint.
In a letter circulated to government ministers and released to Matangi Tonga, Tomifa stated that on July 21 the board had approved a resolution to lodge
their formal complaint against the Minister and two acting CEO's of tourism.
He said that the board was very distressed that the takeover included control of the TTA's cheque account, and claimed that the Minister of Tourism had
changed the authorizing signature for the bank account without a Board resolution.
The dispute has led to a freezing of the TTA account at the Bank South Pacific.
Tomifa is also claiming that Hon. Semisi Sika, as the president of the Heilala Pageant committee had a “conflict of interest” over using TTA funds for the
Heilala Festival.
He claimed the minister had wrongly ended the three year contracts of the serving board members.
“The Minister of Tourism has direct conflict of interest with the Tonga Tourism Authority Act 2012 as its business operation is to be independent from the
government,” Tomifa stated.
Tomifa signed the letter of complaint as Chairman of the Tonga Tourism Authority and copied it to other TTA directors.
New minister
Meanwhile, the Public Complaints Commission has not publically acknowledged receiving the complaint and we could not get any confirmation on how long
it will take to process it.
According to a spokesperson from the Ministry of Tourism, when ‘Etuate Lavulavu was made the Minister of Tourism in early 2015, he appointed four new
board members, including a new Chairman Tomifa Paea, and three other members, Sione Pakalani, Finau Uata, Simana Kami.
The other two board members are Papiloa Foliaki and Tevita Palu who were remaining members of the first of the Tourism Authority Board that was
formed in 2012.
In late January 2016 ‘Etuate Lavulavu lost his Parliamentary seat. On April 28 Hon. Semisi Sika became the new Minister of Tourism and, apparently, the
term in office of the board members was considered to be expired.
New members of the Board of the Tourism Authority are expected to be announced tomorrow, Thursday.
Tonga Tourism Authority [2]
Ministry of Tourism [3]
Government [4]
This content contains images that have not been displayed in print view.
Source URL: … m-minister
[1] … m-minister
[2] … ity?page=1