“That really hurt me,” Nonu business partner

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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BUSINESS DEAL GONE BAD: Peseta Vaifou, Apulu Lance Polu and La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt.

BUSINESS DEAL GONE BAD: Peseta Vaifou, Apulu Lance Polu and La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt. (Photo: Samoa Observer)

One of the partners in a failed nonu juice project, Apulu Lance Polu, has testified in the hearing of a lawsuit brought against him and two others by a former business partner.

Apulu told the Court about his disappointment in Peseta Vaifou Tevaga’s lack of trust in their business relationship. 

 “That really hurt me up to now,”Apulu said. “My integrity was questioned by Peseta Vaifou Tevaga. The things that happened afterwards and leading up to what happened now goes back to my point, the element of trust right from that time, up until now.”

Apulu was giving evidence in the hearing the lawsuit filed by former business partner and current Associate Minister of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Peseta Vaifou Tevaga. 

Apulu and his business associates, La’auli Leuatea Schmidt and Martin Jonathan Schwalger, are being sued for more than $3million by Peseta over the nonu business deal.

Supreme Court Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren is presiding. 

The plaintiff is represented by Leuluaiali’i Olinda Woodroffe and Leali’ifano Dr. Iopu Tanielu. The defendants are represented by Semi Leung Wai. 

Apulu was the last to testify of the L.P.A. partners and indicated that he played a major part in preparation and negotiation of the bid. 

According to Apulu, everything started to fall apart after their first order from Wilex Company, of $36,000.

 “For me it was in the early months of operation,” he said. “I think the distrust that Peseta had on myself (was a real problem)."

“We were struggling, when we had our first order with Wilex. The order was $36,000 and the arrangement was that 50 per cent was paid first yet we had to pay $24,000+ for our monthly repayments [for N.P.F loan] and here we are with only $16,000-$18,000.” 

Apulu said they had to wait for three month to get the remaining balance of the $36,000 from Wilex.

“Peseta was pressuring me about where is the money. I explained, everything several times, not once but several times. "

“Then I found later that he [Peseta] actually went to Wilex and asked for the invoices, the payments and all the information. That really hurt me up to now, because my integrity was questioned by Peseta." 

“The things that happened afterwards and leading up to what happened now goes back to my point." 

“The element of trust right from that time, up until now, we are before the court."

Apulu pointed out that their Nonu Juice Company, was trying to make ends meet during the early stages. 

“We’re talking about a company that is running without funds, without orders. Of course there are stock but without a market, and without orders, without a sale, what’s the point?” 

According to Apulu, they were not paid for the work they did given the status of the company. And yet he was taken away from his media company, Talamua Media, as he was trying to help with this business. 

Apulu said he first heard of Peseta’s involvement when they were trying to secure the bidding. 

“We were planning for the receivership, and then La’auli brought in Peseta who offered up his land for security.” 

Apulu said they brought Peseta into the fold.  

“We were the ones who had the knowledge about the Nonu business, we knew about the receivership." 

“And we were the ones who opened the door for him [Peseta] and let him know about this very lucrative position and then mind you, he has actually had associations with Laauli." 

“I’m thinking that him coming over to offer his land is actually his contribution to this business proposition and we let him in.” 

Regarding the business license in which the name “Samoa Nonu Delights” was incorporated, this had to do with marketing aspect of the business.

“You see this is where we found out that there is no connection between L.P.A. and our product, the Nonu." 

“We saw the need from the marketing and promotion side, and given that our main market was China, this is why we adopted a new name, Samoa, and Nonu."

“The Chinese are mad about the Nonu and delights, its a word that you see on Chinese businesses all over [in China].”

Apulu said that’s why there is a trading name Samoa Nonu Delights said Apulu. 

The hearing has been rescheduled for later this month.

More witnesses are scheduled to testify.

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