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Friday 23 November 2018

The Public Service Commissioner, Russell Thomas has appointed Tamatoa Jonassen as the new Secretary for the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).  The former Secretary who had been in this position from 2011 is Tingika Elikana who is now Member of Parliament for Pukapuka – Nassau.

Jonassen is currently completing his term as the CEO of the Financial Services Development Authority (FSDA). He has a Bachelor of Science double majoring in Political Science and Information Systems, a law certificate in Pacific & Asian Legal Studies, a graduate certificate in Conflict Resolution from the Matsunaga Institute for Peace, and a Juris Doctor in Law from the USA.  Jonassen is admitted to practice law in both the Cook Islands and the State of Hawaii in the USA, and has served on the Cook Islands Law Society Council for the past four years.

Having grown up in the Cook Islands, Jonassen has gained a love for, and understanding of, our culture and heritage.  He has links to all of the Pae Enua and Rarotonga, which has strengthened his commitment to the Cook Islands and deepened his understanding of the nuances of the challenges facing Cook Islanders and the social impacts that our justice system must deal with.

During his time as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu, he experienced administrating the criminal case loads of all five district courthouses on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, handling approximately 30 to 200 cases daily set for arraignment and/or trial.  He has learned that it is important to have efficient and reliable processes to ensure proper access to justice and ensure the finality of court judgements.

Jonassen is keen to use technological advances to help the Ministry of Justice navigate the opportunities and challenges that they are facing.  He anticipates that his time in the Ministry of Justice will see some positive changes and opportunities to create efficiencies and effective processes in our legal system.

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