CLARIFICATION OF SALARY PAYMENTS FROM THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY TO THE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR TONGATAPU 10 WHILST HE IS ABSENT FROM MEETINGS OF THE ASSEMBLY
This statement is provided to clarify the subject-matter, which was previously explained in a press release on 18 January 2023.
The Legislative Assembly is not responsible for travel and medical costs arising from the travel by the Member of Parliament for Tongatapu 10, Hon. Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, who is currently in the United States of America for medical reasons. The Assembly has not paid to the Member any travelling allowance, airfare, medical expenses, nor any other expenses incidental to the MP’s travel or his medical treatment being sought.
The Legislative Assembly continues to pay to the Member of Parliament his fortnightly salary, being his basic salary as an MP. The Member is rightly entitled to continue to receive his salary payments because he remains a Member of Parliament, and his leave of absence had been approved by the House. The MP’s current leave of absence was approved by the House through a decision reached by circulation to the Members, which is a standard process allowed under Standing Order 4(1). It empowers the House to seek decisions through circulation where such decisions are required to be made during a time when the House is not in session.
There are also questions raised regarding medical expenses in respect of the same Member in the year 2017 that Parliament had allegedly paid for. This allegation is false. Parliament did not pay for medical expenses of the said Member in the year 2017. The Legislative Assembly refutes false claims made against the Assembly and its Members. It is important to rebut false allegations and misinformation as it is in the interest of the public who rely on such information.
Issued by the Chief Clerk of the Legislative Assembly
10 February 2023
Office of the Legislative Assembly, Nuku’alofa, Tonga