Hypocrite, Minister fires back

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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M.P.: Olo Fiti Vaai and MINISTER: Tialavea Tionisio Hunt.

M.P.: Olo Fiti Vaai and MINISTER: Tialavea Tionisio Hunt. (Photo: Samoa Observer)

“Hypocrite.” 

That’s the word used by the Minister of Prisons, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, to describe Member of Parliament, Olo Fiti Vaai. 

The comment is the latest in the longstanding dispute between the two men.

At the beginning of the year, Olo called on the Minister to step down as Minister of Prisons Services. 

Olo said if he cannot fix the problems at the Prisons, then he should resign and let someone else get the job done.

Olo said he is baffled as to why no one from the Samoa Prisons and Correction Services has been charged for the unlawful release of notorious criminal Tagaloasa Filipaina during the holidays last year.

“Who is above the law and who isn’t,” he asked. 

“Why is that no one from the Samoa Prisons and Correction Services has been held accountable for the unlawful release of inmates?

“The law has been broken, yet nothing has been done about it.”

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Tialavea has wielded the axe on Olo.

“How can Olo point his finger to me when he also requested for one of his relatives to be released from jail,” Tialavea said. 

“Of course the request was granted.” 

According to the warrant of prisoner’s temporary release obtained by the Samoa Observer, on 3 March 2017, Olo wrote to the Commissioner of Prisons, Taitosaua Edward Winterstein.

He asked for a prisoner from his constituency to be released to attend his father’s funeral.

The request according to the warrant was granted with conditions that Olo will be responsible for him. 

Asked for a comment, Olo made it clear that he merely followed procedures put in place for the release of the inmate based on a request from his constituency.

“The family of the inmate came to me asking if I can request on their behalf to release the said prisoner for his father’s funeral,” Olo said.

“I wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Police to request a special release for the prisoner to be released to attend his father’s funeral. 

“I made the request via the Commissioner of Corrections and the decision to release the prisoner is their prerogative. I didn’t force them to release the prisoner. 

“They granted my request. Can Tialavea say the same regarding the release of Filipaina? Was there a written request, or was it just verbal request? 

“What he did was illegal. I went through the legal process and if they had denied the request, I did my due diligence by following the regulations and protocols put in place for release of prisoners.” 

The Samoa Observer has requested a copy of the release warrant for Filipaina.

Minister Tialavea referred the request to the Commissioner, who has yet to respond as of press time last night. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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