Minister of Justice fights to quash warrant of arrest

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia ,

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PAGO A.G.: Talauega Eleasalo Ale and Minister of Justice: Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainu’u.

PAGO A.G.: Talauega Eleasalo Ale and Minister of Justice: Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainu’u.

The Minister of Justice and Courts Administration, Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainu’u, is seeking to quash an outstanding warrant of arrest against him in American Samoa. 

The warrant of arrest for Fa’aolesa was issued in 2008 containing a number of allegations, in relation to his handling of a client. 

In a telephone interview with the Samoa Observer yesterday, the Minister said his lawyer in the territory is working on his case. He did not say who his lawyer was.

“My lawyer will submit a motion to quash the warrant,” he said.  

“The delay is because they are trying to find the affidavit to support the warrant. 

“There was nothing at the Attorney General’s office and they are also looking for a copy from the Court.”

Asked if he will be going to American Samoa when the matter is called in Court, Fa’aolesa said no.  “It’s being done by my lawyer,” he said.  “Once I get the outcome, I’ll call you for my official response. 

In the meantime, I cannot say anything more that might compromise my lawyer’s work.”

When Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi was asked about the matter last week, he said he would have to ask the Minister for an update. During a recent interview with the American Samoa Attorney General, Talauega Eleasalo Ale, he confirmed that the warrant against Faaolesa was still valid.  “It’s still valid and apparently it’s still in the books (of the Court and still outstanding),” he said. 

“We don’t have any actions on this. It’s a matter up to the law enforcement, the Police to enforce if the person is in our jurisdiction. The background and reasons for the warrant, those facts are still out there. I don’t know what happened, I don’t know whatever the situation is if it’s been resolved without our knowledge.”

According to Talauega since the warrant was issued, it was never acted upon. The reason for that he said is that it was “probably because the person wasn’t here.  “The warrant is valid if he is in American Samoa jurisdiction and he can be arrested by Police in pursuant to the Court’s warrant.” 

He added the warrant was not from his office but of the Court in American Samoa. 

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