The search is on for a person to head the recently established National Prosecution Office (N.P.O).
The Minister of Public Enterprises, Lautafi Fio Purcell, told the Samoa Observer that the selection process for the position of Director of Public Prosecution is underway.
The applications for the position are invited at the same time as the government is looking for a new Attorney General.
“Ideally, we are looking for someone who understands the law,” Lautafi said about the position of the Director of N.P.O. “That skill and other key requirements are all part of the search.”
Lautafi could not say when an appointment will be made.
Last year, it was revealed that the Criminal Prosecutions Division of the Attorney General’s Office would become the independent National Prosecution Office in Samoa (N.P.O).
The establishment of the N.P.O. was initiated by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, prompted by a number of factors including the need to improve prosecution services and for prosecutions at all levels in Samoa to be conducted uniformly by one office. Currently, prosecutions at the District Court Level are handled by Police while the Attorney General’s Office is responsible for prosecutions before the Supreme Court.
In late 2014, legal consultants from the Commonwealth Secretariat were deployed to consider the need for a N.P.O.
They sought opinions from various members of the public sector, the judiciary and the Samoa Law Society.
All wholly approved and supported the initiative.
In December 2014, upon the submission of a public proposal and policy, Cabinet endorsed the initiative.
The N.P.O. will be headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (D.P.P), whose function will be to carry out the prosecutorial powers currently held by the Attorney General.
The N.P.O. will include the prosecutors of the Criminal Prosecutions Division of the Attorney General’s Office and police prosecutors.
All Ministerial prosecutions will continue to be the responsibility of the relevant Ministry (and in-house counsel), until it is in the interests of justice for the D.P.P. to take over.
The vision of the N.P.O. is to ensure the independence and transparency of prosecution decisions and procedure in Samoa.