A six-member Select Committee has been approved by the Legislative Assembly to look into the Lulutai Airlines Company due to mounting concern surrounding the airworthiness of its aircraft.
All Members in the House unanimously passed the Motion (22-0) on Monday.
The Committee has been tasked to inquire into the operations and overall conduct of the airline’s services prompted following the approval of a Motion tabled in Parliament by Tongatapu 7 constituency MP, Hon. Piveni Piukala.
The Select Committee’s terms of reference provide to ensure that Lulutai’s work is transparent and accountable to taxpayers’ money since they are the government’s shareholders.
Hon. Piukala was mainly concerned about the airworthiness of Lulutai’s aircraft to service the outer islands domestic flights, legality of its operation and to provide satisfactory service delivery to the public.
Tongatapu 7 proposes for the Select Committee to assess and investigate the legality aspect surrounding the operation of the airline. According to the Motion 6/20023 Hon. Piukala anticipates that the Select Committee’s terms of reference must ensure the initiative is to safeguard the interests of the shareholder (government), investors, staff, and the airline’s customers.
The Cabinet also made corrections to Hon. Piukala’s Motion advocating the operation of Lulutai is legal and it operates under the Companies Act not the Public Enterprise Act. Piveni Piukala strongly argued it is wrong for government to operate state owned enterprises according to the Public Enterprises Act.
In response, Government made a proposition to support the establishment of a parliament select committee and amendments should be made to the wording of the Motion given that Lulutai is obviously operating legally.
The Select Committee six members include the Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Samiu Vaipulu and the Hon. Finance Minister from Cabinet, Lord Tu’ivakano and HSH Prince Kalaniuvalu Fotofili of the Noble’s bench and Tongatapu 5 MP, Dr. ‘Aisake Eke and Piveni Piukala of Tongatapu 7.
The reserve members also include the Hon. Trade Minister Dr. Viliami Latu from Cabinet, Mateni Tapueluelu of Tongatapu 4 constituency from the People’s Bench and Lord Nuku from the Noble’s Table.