‘Etuate Lavulavu

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‘Etuate Lavulavu is a Tongan politician and former member of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga for Vavaʻu. He was stripped of his seat in 2016 after being convicted of bribery, precipitating the 2016 Vavaʻu 16 by-election.

Lavulavu graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Brigham Young University–Hawaii followed by a Master of Arts from Brigham Young University in Utah. He publicly claimed to have a PhD from the University of Edenvale, and began referring to himself as "Professor" [1] but this was proven to be false, and the institution was recognised as a scam outfit that sells fraudulent higher education certificates online.[2][3] He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in the 2002 election. During his tenure he was arrested in Utah, USA in October 2003 over an immigration scam [4] and was later convicted in 2004,[5] although he had been running from the law since 26 felony charges were brought against him in 1997.[6] He lost his seat in 2005, but was re-elected in the 2008 election. A Deseret Article posted 2003 reports of his criminal allocations in which he was allegedly granted bail. There are no records that he completed a Masters program.

In 2003 Lavulavu apologised to the House after an altercation with fellow MP ʻAkilisi Pohiva.[7] In 2004 he was suspended from Parliament for three days for disrupting the proceedings of the House.[8]

In the November 2010 general election, standing in newly districted single-seat constituency of Vavaʻu 14, he lost his seat to Lisiate ‘Akolo, obtaining 540 votes (22.7%) to ‘Akolo's 665 (28%).[9]

On 29 January 2016 Lavulavu was convicted of bribery by Tonga's Supreme Court for building roads as part of his 2014 election campaign and providing inducements to voters.[10] He was also found to have violated election spending limits, and his election was declared void. His wife, 'Akosita Lavulavu, won the resulting byelection.[11]

On 3 March 2018 Lavulavu and his wife were both arrested on fraud charges stemming from their management of the ‘Unuaki ‘o Tonga Royal Institute in 2016.[12]

Lavulavu is a Latter Day Saint.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ [3]
  4. ^ [4]
  5. ^ [5]
  6. ^ [6]
  7. ^ "Tongan parliament accepts apology from two members". Radio New Zealand International. 2003-09-13. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  8. ^ "Tonga lawmakers suspended for disrupting parliament". Radio New Zealand International. 2004-07-28. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  9. ^ "Outer islands results", Matangi Tonga
  10. ^ "Tongan minister found guilty of bribery". Radio New Zealand International. 29 January 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  11. ^ "Sole woman MP elected in Tonga". Radio New Zealand. 15 July 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2017. 
  12. ^ "Police arrest Minister of Internal Affairs and husband". Matangi Tonga. 3 March 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018. 

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