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A convicted Tongan government minister, ‘Akosita Lavulavu, and her husband ‘Etuate Lavulavu have each been jailed for six years.

They were sentenced today in the Supreme Court after being found guilty on charges of obtaining money by false pretences.

The couple owned and ran the educational institution ‘Unuaki ‘o Tonga Royal Institute. They obtained state funding for the training facility, but kept the money.

Supreme Court judge Justice Nicholas Cooper said the couple had a “highly devised plan”, which they committed over about three-years, reports Matangi Tonga.

He said the public money was intended to benefit the children.

The judge said that while ‘Akosita Lavulavu had no previous offences and had pleaded for mercy, she had shown no remorse.

‘Etuate Lavulavu was first elected to Parliament in 2002, but was convicted of bribery in 2016 and forced to resign.

His wife then stepped into his parliamentary shoes.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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