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Former Tuvalu PM a ‘free man’

Judge questions handling of case by PM and his deputy

A LANDMARK court case last May in Tuvalu which saw the jailing of a former prime minister who is a sitting opposition MP has ended abruptly when the island’s high court declared the conviction as “manifestly unsafe,” quashed the 12 month jail term and ordered no further court trials. In so doing, stand in Judge Norman Franzi of Melbourne, Australia expressed grave concerns at the behaviour of the current Prime Minister of Tuvalu Enele Sopoaga, and his deputy Maatia Toafa, also a former prime minister in the investigations of the case.

“I note in passing that two of Tuvalu’s Prime Ministers took part in the preparation or investigation carried out for this case,” said Judge Franzi. “I consider that contrary to the separate of powers in the Westminster System of Government. There is material in the appeal book volume 3 page 711 that indicated that [then] Prime Minster Maatia Toafa had coerced an email response from John Chen [a Taiwanese businessman].

“The email was tendered as an exhibit not as to the truth of its contents. In the Senior Magistrate’s judgement the email was relied on as to the truth of its contents. Prime Minster Sopoaga in appeal book volume 1 at page 121 gave evidence recorded in the Senior Magistrate’s notes that “I’m accountable to Tuvalu. I have every obligation to seek this information.” Eco friendly wooden hot tubs and barrel outdoor saunas for sale www.royaltubs.co.uk

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