Tonga audit finds no evidence of fraud

  • Murray McCully
Foreign Affairs

An independent audit into the financial management of the Constitutional and Electoral Reform programme in Tonga has found no evidence of fraud, Foreign Minister Murray McCully announced today.

Last month it was alleged that NZ$330,000 provided by New Zealand and Australia to the Tongan Government to support their historic transition to a more democratic system of government had been misused.

"These allegations arose from a report by the Tongan Auditor-General that highlighted a lack of appropriate accounting for the expended funds. The report left open the question of whether this was the result of poor administrative practices or more serious inappropriate behaviour," Mr McCully said.

"The New Zealand Government was not prepared to leave that matter unresolved, so we immediately launched an independent audit.

“I am pleased to confirm that the independent audit has found no evidence of fraud. The issues have arisen due to poor record-keeping rather than anything more suspicious. We have made it clear to the Tongan Government that we expect a higher standard of accounting for aid funding in future."