Superintendent questions suspension

By Lanuola Tupufia – Ah Tong ,

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One of the latest Police officers to have been suspended in the ongoing saga at the Ministry of Police has questioned the decision.

Puzzled and confused about why he has been suspended, Superintendent Lei’ataua Luatimu Samau, told the Samoa Observer yesterday he believes the process is not right.

Lei’ataua, a Police Corporal and two other Constables were suspended last Friday by Cabinet. The decision relayed to them in a letter signed by C.E.O of the Ministry of Prime Minister, Agafili Shem Leo, said the suspensions were effective immediately.

The suspended Corporal is the complainant in the matter involving the suspension of Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil where charges including inciting to murder surfaced. 

 On the other hand, Leitaua was the investigating officer of that complaint and the two other suspended officers were involved in the arrest of Fuiavailiili last month. 

Asked for a comment yesterday, Lei’ataua told the Samoa Observer he was in the dark about his suspension. 

The Superintendent said he was informed on Friday evening by another officer in the Professional Standards Unit about his suspension. 

“I was told that the decision came from Cabinet,” said Lei’ataua. 

“I have been asking questions of why I was suspended but there was no explanation. 

“There is no doubt that I am the investigating officer for the matter involving the Police Commissioner and it might have something to do with that. 

“What I’m confused about is that I was asked by the Assistant Commissioners to conduct the investigation based on orders from the (former) Minister of Police Sala. I was only following orders from above me.”

Lei’ataua said he was told the suspension is for three months. 

What’s even more puzzling, according to Lei’ataua, is the fact there are no charges against him. He was not informed of being referred to a Tribunal or being investigated by the Professional Standards Unit. 

Leiataua pointed out that the suspension of non Commission officers normally comes from the Commissioner. 

But he stressed that what’s happening now is somewhat different from the usual practice and processes of suspension. 

“I’m not an Assistant Commissioner or Commissioner who are on contracts and are appointmentsed by Cabinet so I don’t understand why I’m suspended by Cabinet,” he explained. 

“This is something new. Usually when a non commissioned officer is suspended it comes from the Commissioner and the suspended officer is informed of the charges or gets referred to a tribunal.” 

Leiataua added that he also wants to know if there is a law that says the Commissioner of Police cannot be charged and arrested. 

“I might get a lawyer to help me find some answers,” he said. 

Asked for a comment yesterday, Acting Police Commissioner, Leiataua Aviga said even he did not know what was going on. 

“This is similar to the case of Assistant Commissioner, Samoa Mulinuu Mulinuu,” he said.  “The decision was made by Cabinet and we do not know why they are suspended.”

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