The Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet is investigating how Tui Vaai Jr was issued a new passport to leave the country despite a court order banning him from travel.
The businessman currently has a Departure Prohibition Order (D.P.O.) in place, which bans him from leaving the country due to criminal proceedings that are currently on foot.
This was confirmed in a statement issued to the media by Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet C.E.O., Agafili Tomaimano Shem Leo, who is also the Chief Immigration Officer.
“Both a police criminal investigation and an internal ministry investigation have commenced into the case of Mr. Tui Vaai Junior on how he left the country whilst previously on D.P.O. and his known valid passports were confiscated by the court. Initial inquiries confirmed that a new passport was issued and the same was used by Tui Vaai Junior to leave the country,” Agafili said.
On Friday, the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration, C.E.O. Papali’i John Afele Taimalelagi, confirmed that Tui Vaai Jr. surrendered his travel documents as part of a Court matter pending against him.
“To date, we still have the two passports that were surrendered to the Court as part of his bail conditions. How he left it has nothing to do with us because we still have the passports in the Court’s possession,” he said.
“The passports were of New Zealand Government and Samoa Government and it is within the Court’s possession I can assure you that.”
In the statement issued yesterday, Agafili said the police investigation is looking into how Tui Vaai Junior managed to get a new passport and leave Samoa.
“Further, the Ministry’s internal investigation will determine possible breaches of the code of ethics prescribed under the Public Service 2004. An arrest warrant was issued against Mr. Tui Vaai Junior by the Court on July 20, 2018. Momentarily, any further comments will compromise the outcome(s) of the ongoing investigations and actions already in place,” he said.
The warrant states the accused sold Lot 35 in Plan 11388 to Laufau Saleimoa Amosa, which was already sold to a Victori Lui, thereby obtained $10,000 and causing losses to Saleimoa, a female of Vaitele and Auala Savaii. Upon his arrest, he will remain in custody until his court appearance.