A woman who is at the heart of a sex allegation against the former Secretary General of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa, Rev. Dr. Afereti Uili is on the run.
Earlier this year a defamation case was filed by Rev. Uili in the Supreme Court following an article in a local newspaper regarding sex allegations involving him.
The matter was referred to mediation and was successful.
The lawyer for Rev. Uili, Semi Leung Wai yesterday asked the Court to list the “mediation agreement” as a judgment of the Court.
However, the Chief Justice, Honorable Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu made it clear that he could not enter a judgment by consent with the absence of the woman involved.
The lawyer for the woman, Alalatoa Rosella Papali’i told the Supreme Court yesterday that she was having a hard time locating her client.
“Unfortunately I haven’t had any success in locating the defendant who seems to be on the run,” said Alalatoa.
“I have left countless messages with her to get in touch with us and also the contact people…she has not turned up.”
Unhappy with this, Mr. Leung Wai reminded the Court that yesterday was the last adjournment date and there was no sign of the defendant.
“On 10th June there was a mediation and we’re trying to list it as judgment with this honorable Court,” said Mr. Leung Wai.
“We had filed proceedings with counsel (for defendant) and it was mentioned on 5th July. The problem is my client in this matter. The decision of this Court will decide his position in church.”
Chief Justice, Patu, ruled that the Court cannot give judgment by consent without the defendant to say she gives consent.
Mr. Leung Wai argued that the woman had already wasted too much time and he too was unsuccessful in serving her.
He told the Court that it was the duty of the lawyer for the defendant’s role to inform her client on the proceedings of the Court.
Sympathetic towards Mr. Leung Wai, Alalatoa said she understands his frustration but it is difficult for her as she has had no luck in locating the woman.
“We did send someone to her residence in Afega but she’s not there.”
The Chief Justice said it is unfortunate that the plaintiff has had trouble in serving the defendant.
“It is the obligation of the plaintiff to effect service on to the defendant,” he said.
“Counsel is only an agent but she is not the defendant. The defendant is the principal and if the defendant does not agree or authorize service to be effective on counsel who is only an agent then the agent has no authority to accept service on the client who is the principal.”
He ordered an adjournment for the 22nd August for Alalatoa to file withdrawal as counsel and for the “unfortunate plaintiff to effect service on to the defendant”.
Asked outside Court about the mediation agreement, Mr. Leung Wai declined to comment.
He said the agreement is confidential.
He was also asked about the defamation case and details.
In response he said they are workers of God and do not seek money but only to clear his client’s name.
During the General Assembly of the C.C.C.S. in May this year, the former Secretary General was stripped of his key position in the church administration over the sexual allegations.
The decision was made by the Elders Committee before the court proceedings began.