Former Judge questions motives for Inquiry

By Lanuola Tupufia – Ah Tong ,

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RETIRED JUDGE: Fa'amausili Solonaima Tauiliili-Brown and P.M. Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.

RETIRED JUDGE: Fa'amausili Solonaima Tauiliili-Brown and P.M. Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi. (Photo: File)

A retired Vice President of the Land and Titles Court (L.T.C), Faamausili Solonaima Tauiliili-Brown has questioned the motives behind a Commission of Inquiry investigating the Judges of the L.T.C.

Fa’amausili, who retired two weeks ago, said she does not understand the logic behind Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi’s decision to order an Inquiry specifically targeting L.T.C Judges.

 “It seems like the government is only eyeing us but what about other government ministries?” Faamausili told the Samoa Observer.  

“I mean, you can try calling some of the ministries to inquire but there is no response. Yet it appears that the Inquiry is solely to target us. It’s biased towards one side.

“It’s as if they are trying to shift the focus to us but only God knows where the truth lies.”

Fa’amausili pointed out there have been many questions from the public about the government’s performance over the years yet there has never been an inquiry to investigate such matters.

The former Deputy President of L.T.C also questioned the claims from the Prime Minister that about 99 percent of the country complain about the performance of the L.T.C Judges. 

“Such a claim cannot be justified. It’s untrue,” said Fa’amausili. 

“Our country has a population of 180,000. So are they saying that 99 percent of that number are people complaining and only one percent haven’t? There is no evidence of such claim and I don’t agree with it.”

Faamausili said if there were about 400 people who supposedly complained about their work, that is nowhere near the 90 percent mark.  

“When I heard about the claim I felt annoyed,” she said. 

“What is the point of having a judiciary system then? It sounded like we failed our country and to me such claims are not true. The work of two judges should not speak for the rest of the Judges.” 

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Tuilaepa ordered a C.O.I to review performance of the L.T.C Judges.  

According to the Prime Minister, there needs to be checks for men and women judges of the Land and Titles Court. 

 “If the Court does not fix its internal issues, it is the duty of Parliament to make an order with the two third support from the M.Ps in the House…”  

Tuilaepa said  there are a few concerns about the criminal Courts which include the District and Supreme Court. 

“But 99 percent of the complaints have shown distress from the public because of decisions from the Land and Titles Court. The truth is no matter how hard we try to make something a 100 percent, we cannot make it a 100 percent because the good wheat will always grow together with the bad ones.” 

The retired judge was also asked about claims that the L.T.C. judges are not cooperating with the C.O.I.

In response, she said, “I think what happened is the C.O.I. is for people to voice their grievances and the judiciary will issue an official response after. 

“I believe that if we need to be present at the C.O.I, how can we respond to it? 

“I think the best way is that the judiciary responds to the report after its findings.”

As for the Inquiry, Faamausili said she doesn’t see anything wrong with it. 

She said it would also be good so that the judiciary can respond to accusations and explain its position on the claims against them. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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