Another blow to Tongasat as Supreme Court rejects appeal
In another blow for Tongasat, a private company to which Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva had accused a royal princess of misusing millions in public money, had an appeal rejected by the Supreme Court. Tongasat had appealed against an August 2018 decision of the Supreme Court in which the court had ruled that payments amounting to US $ 50 million made to the company by China were actually grant for the Tongan government.
The company wanted fresh evidence from four key witnesses. The four men, in 2018, had signed an appeal calling for a retrial. They claimed the transactions between Tongasat and China were commercial in nature and approved by the government. Lord Sevele said everything that he and the government did was according to law and according to the agreement with the Chinese government, the Chinese company and Tongasat. However, the Supreme Court dismissed Tongasat's motion for fresh evidence in a decision on Wednesday and ordered US$6,000 in security the company had fronted for Pohiva's costs to be paid out to him.
Justices Handley, Blanchard and Randerson said the role an involvement of the four witnesses were known to Tongasat before the trial took place and they could have given evidence in 2018 during hearings. The judgment said there was no practical, legal or ethical impediment to them being approached by the legal representatives of the appellant to give evidence in the trial.
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