Election corruption allegation casts doubt over Speaker’s future

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia ,

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SPEAKER VS PETITIONER: Leaupepe Tole'afoa Faafisi and the man taking him to Court, Aiono Tile Gafa.

SPEAKER VS PETITIONER: Leaupepe Tole'afoa Faafisi and the man taking him to Court, Aiono Tile Gafa.

Allegations of election corruption leveled against the Speaker of Parliament, Leaupepe Toleafoa Fa’afisi, by an election rival have cast doubts over his future in Parliament.

But Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has told the Samoa Observer that he is prepared for whatever the outcome might be.

 “These appointments are done on the assumption that there will be no problems,” he said.

“But if there will be problems, then we have to have another election.”

Tuilaepa added that there are other options within the H.R.P.P for the Speaker should he not make it through the petition hearing.

Leaupepe was unanimously elected by the Human Rights Protection Party during a caucus meeting to take over from former Speaker, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao. 

Soon after the H.R.P.P appointed and swore in Leaupepe as the Speaker, former Member of Parliament, Aiono Tile Gafa, filed a petition against him.

During the March General election, Aiono polled 446 votes while Leaupepe had 570 votes. 

In a petition document published in the Samoa Observer, Aiono alleges that the Speaker is guilty of corrupt practices in that his agents committed bribery with the purpose of inducing voters. 

It was not possible to obtain a comment from the Speaker yesterday.

But the petition is one of six petitions before the Courts at Mulinu’u.  

The hearing of the petitions are scheduled for next week.

That’s according to a note from Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava'asue Falefatu Sapolu, to all the counsels involved in the petitions, obtained by the Samoa Observer.

The first petition to be heard will be between Lafaitele Patrick Leiataualesa and Aliimalemalemanu Alofa Tuuau.

According to the note, all petition respondents are to file and serve affidavits in reply and any counter allegations with supporting affidavits today.

 “Every petitioner is to file and serve any affidavits in reply to any counter allegations by any respondent by Tuesday, 12th April 2016 at 12:30pm.

“All petitions would then be re-mentioned on Wednesday, 13th April 2016 at 10:00am.”

The other four petitions involve:

• Maualaivao Pat Ah Him vs Faumuina Wayne Fong

• Ale Vena Ale vs Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi and the Office of the Electoral Commissioner 

• Palusalue Faapo II vs Leaana Ronnie Posini and Manualesagalala Enokati Posala

• Anae Misa Pita vs Taefu Lemi

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