Village Mayor rejects claim

By Ilia L. Likou ,

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VILLAGE MAYOR: Tuimaualu Petelo.

VILLAGE MAYOR: Tuimaualu Petelo.

The Pulenu’u of Faleula, Tuimaialu Petelo, has rejected a claim that their village is protecting a man who "should be behind bars."

“The family of this man has already performed a traditional apology ‘ifoga’ to the village with a hundred boxes of tinned fish and $10,000 after the incident happened,” said Tuimaialu.

 “I think people have their own opinions and they can come to you whenever they want to voice out their concerns and we understand that as well.

“But the thing is they should know that no one can die twice. If they’ve already made a ifoga and it has been accepted by the village, then that is it.

“The matter has been referred to the Police it is in their hands now.”

The man in question is known as Sale, short for Saleufi.

He was involved in a shooting incident where a man was killed at Faleula-uta last year.

Last week, a resident of Faleula, who is afraid to have his name revealed, complained about the presence of Saleufi in the village.

He believes he should not be seen anywhere in the village.

“The most disappointing fact about the issue is that Saleufi can be seen anywhere in the village at any time and he does whatever he wants,” the resident said.

“He can walk in whenever he wants. Personally, if he has been charged with murder and he’s free to walk everywhere, I think someone’s life is in danger.”

The resident accused Saleufi of a string of other crimes including burning a taulele’a house. 

He said the village of Faleula has not done anything about this. He is especially concerned because it seems that Faleula – including the Village Council – is protecting someone that should be held accountable for what happened.

“This is totally unfair to others. Why has the Court let him out? How can this happen?

“We heard he’s now staying in Savai’i with another family. The village council in Savai’i where he is staying needs to be aware about this man.”

The resident referred to the man’s freedom as “corruption.”

“The prison is in Samoa not in Fiji or New Zealand…just take him there to wait on his case if that still exists or maybe when it’s called again it will be thrown out of Court.

 “We’re not perfect but he’s very dangerous and members of the public need to be protected.”

It was not possible to get a comment from Saleufi at press time. It was also not possible to confirm what has happened to the case where Saleufi was charged with murder in relation to the shooting.

But Tuimaialu reiterated that no one should “die twice.”

“Justice is between Saleufi and God,” he said.

“I think the decision by the Court given to Saleufi is he’s not allowed to live in the village but he’s only allowed to see his parents.

“Saleufi is now staying in Savai’i to await his hearing later this year in May.”

Tuimaialu also said Saleufi is a hardworking person.

“We all know about tautua in the fa’asamoa,” he said.

“That’s Saleufi in his family, as a taulele’a, he’s there to tautua his family.”

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