Tongan passport forgery sentencing on Nov 11


Four Tongan nationals, including two former civil servants, will be sentenced on Friday, November 11 after pleading guilty to charges in a Tongan passport forgery trial on September 13.Ola Fieauna Tameifuna (55), Sosefo Sione ‘Ahohako (37), ‘Isileli Kaumavae (30) and Sioeli Heleta (26) will be sentenced by Justice Cato at 2:00pm at the Nuku’alofa Supreme Court. The accused had initially pleaded not guilty but changed their pleas to guilty at the start of the case, which involved the passport application using a forged Tongan birth certificate of a person who does not exist, “James Connor Tameifuna”.
A former civil servant ‘Isileli Kaumavae had created a false Tongan birth certificate for this non-existent person. While another civil servant, Sosefo Sione ‘Ahohako who worked at the Magistrate’s Court office made a false declaration that he knew the person. Since late last year, Tonga Police have charged 12 people in alleged forgeries and illegal issuance of Tongan passports. This is the first of the trials, while others are understood to be pending.
Meanwhile, six Georgian nationals who received two-years suspended sentences after pleading guilty to knowingly dealing with forged documents, when they entered Tonga on stolen Greek passports in September, have paid fines of $1,000 pa’anga each (US$458) to the Supreme Court and are still in the country.
On October 26, Koba Shinjkashvili, Zaza Tsikarishvili, Nino Menabdishvili, Genadi Gacechechildaze, Mai Garibashvili and Dato Dekanoidze pleaded guilty and submitted they would leave Tonga as soon as they had their return flights organised, which they would pay for.
They were ordered to leave Tonga within two-weeks from October 26, when they were sentenced (meaning they must leave by November 9). Prosecution confirmed that the six had paid their fines as ordered by the judge, within seven-days from the date of their sentencing.
“We know police still have their passports and will be released to them when they leave Tonga,” said the prosecutor. Source: