VAVA’U 16 MP and Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism, Hon 'Etuate Lavulavu has survived an impeachment motion in Parliament today.
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 report tabled by the Privilege Committee yesterday, which determined there is a prima facie case for the accused to answer to in Parliament.
The Committee’s report number 12/2015 recommended there is enough evidence for a prima facie case in Parliament as it was earlier reported in its number 8/2015 report.
The impeachment motion stems from complaint from former employees of the Ministry of Infrastructure who claimed Hon. Lavulavu misused public funds. The MOI was adamant his reply to accusations against him should be read in Parliament simply not to mislead the public.
This morning the Hon. Prime Minister asked Parliament to leave the matter for Cabinet to deal with. He pointed out he has constitutional power to reprimand the MOI Minister and would make such recommendation to the King.
The Speaker iterates it is not the Legislative Assembly’s business to decide, but it is a decision for the Executive to make.
The Finance and National Planning Minister, Dr. ‘Aisake who is also a Member of the Privilege Committee, told Parliament that Hon. Lavulavu lied in Parliament yesterday when insisted he did not produce any of his replies to the Committee.
Yesterday in Parliament, Hon. Lavulavu held two reports in his possession which he claimed it was his replies to accusations made against him in the impeachment motion. According to Vava’u 16 MP his replies should be made public.
In fact, the Privilege Committee reported they extended the deadline five times to allow Hon. Lavulavu to respond to the allegations made against him in the impeachment motion. He did produce two replies to the Committee, however on September 24 he told them to disregard both on the ground that he was angrily responded to the Committee .
The Finance and National Planning Minister, Dr. 'Aisake Eke was emotional today and wanted to bring to the House attention, that Hon. Lavulavu lied in Parliament yesterday. For that reason, he called on the MOI & Tourism Hon. Lavulavu to publicly admit his wrong in Parliament and he did.
In addressing the House, Hon. Lavulavu publicly apologized to the Speaker, Members of the House as well as the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers for his shortfall.
He admits his wrong, although he was not explicitly apologized for lying in Parliament.
The impeachment motion against Hon. Lavulavu was tabled into Parliament by Vava’u number 2 Noble Representative Lord Tu’ilakepa.
The former civil servants accused the Infrastructure and Tourism Minister of misused of public funds relating to building of foreshores in Talihau, Vava’u.