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“Watchdogs” turn on critics

Nuku'alofa, Tonga


Now that I’ve been labeled the PMO’s #1 Enemy (PMO Press Release, April 7, 2015), let me repeat the facts I’ve outlined in my first two letters. They’re hanging their denials on twisting the facts.

I did not write that the Cabinet has approved purchasing Siaosi Pōhiva & Pīveni Piukala’s computer software. Please read my original letter again.

Do they want the public to believe that Piveni Piukala did not make claims on TV Tonga about their computer product? Sorry, but we’re not that stupid.

Ain’t it amusing that Prime Minister Pōhiva, and his cronies at the PMO, are the same gang who attacked past governments like fangs-bared “watchdogs,” are now using the same tactics to silence their critics? Now they’ve considered themselves as smart as the Polynesian demigod, “Maui-the- trickster.” And they can fish up island (trick) after island (trick) with fishhooks (keyboard strokes).

Because they have expert communication advisors at the PMO, …they’ve considered themselves “untouchable.” They have then expensed PMO valuable resources to attack one journalist and to denigrate civil public discourse to a journalism fiasco, where they resorted to name-calling, and character assassination.

Siaosi Pōhiva

So, Siaosi Pōhiva runs crying to “daddy” in the PMO that Sione Mokofisi has been mean to him in the playgrounds. He, therefore, threatened legal actions, and the PMO has issued an “official” press release in support of Siaosi Pōhiva.

Let me say this: …you can perfect self-denial, but you cannot erase the facts, which are saved on video recordings.

Fact #1: that the Prime Minister did go on TV Tonga and made an announcement about complaints from parents of high school-leavers regarding discrepancies in their national examination scores due to a flawed computer “software” in the SPBEA system. How many filed complaints? He didn’t say. (But it raised my interest that perhaps there might be another motive behind this government declaration.)

Fact #2: that shortly after the Prime Minister’s TV announcement, the “computer expert” he promised to arrive in Tonga to fix the problem, Mr. Pīveni Piukala, made claims on the same TV Tonga program − Viola Ulakai’s show – that he (Mr. Piukala) had the solution to the computer problems, which the PM had called a “software” or “mīsini” for the computer. He offered no supporting independent studies.

Fact #3: that Mr. Pīveni Piukala made claims on the same TV show that he wished the Prime Minister’s son, Siaosi Pōhiva, was here in Tonga to take “credit” for the work on their product. (Logic: Mr. Pīveni has revealed a working relationship with Mr. Siaosi Pōhiva, and that the latter has family connections to the Prime Minister’s Office.)

Fact #4:  that Dr. Vesisio Pongi, who mentored Pīveni Piukala at SPBEA - confirmed in his letter to Mr. Piukala (I have a copy of the letter), (i) that he misled the Director/Principals’ meeting; and (ii) that whatever computer software “system” he claimed to have created would not work. (Mr. Pīukala claimed to have a software system and Dr. Pongi confirmed that Mr. Piukala had made the claim.)

I’ve never said that the Cabinet had approved the purchase of Siaosi Pōhiva and Pīveni Piukala’s software product. Please read my original letter.

By simple logic that left me with the choices of either accepting his sales-pitch as he expected, or to research an educated “estimate.”  

Logic: as an example, if PM ‘Akilisi Pōhiva refuses to tell me how much he is paid as a Prime Minister, I can go to former PM Lord Tu‘ivakanō and ask how much was he paid to do the same job? I’ll have to adjust for a 10% Cola increase and for inflation in today’s pa‘anga, to be able to make an educated estimate. Other similar software programs in the market are priced over TOP$1 million.

So, now they’re all claiming there’s no computer software. Really? Then what was Pīveni Piukala trying to sell to us on Viola Ulakai’s TV show, to the Director/Principals’ meeting, which Dr. Vesisio Pongi wrote about? I’m glad now that they’ve conveniently pulled the “software” product out of the market.

I’ve done my job. We’ve saved Tonga from another deal.

Sione A. Mokofisi
Director: English, Journalism & Languages
Tonga International Academy


Kataki kapau 'oku hala 'eku ma'u. 'I he fakamatala ko'eni ' I did not write that the Cabinet has approved purchasing Siaosi Pohiva & Piveni Piukala's computer software'. Ka 'ihe fakamatala 'a e tokotaha tatau pe 'i he 'aho Tusite 24 'o Ma'asi, 2015 'And the new multi-million-dollar software is now being cleared through Cabinet, which is to be purchased from the PM's son and his partner. In my experience with.........' Kataki kapau 'oku ou 'uhinga atu au ha me'a kehe.....SAIA.