A.G. to file govt. defense in Sogi case

By Lanuola Tupufia – Ah Tong ,

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Court House at Mulinuu.

Court House at Mulinuu. (Photo: File)

The Office of the Attorney General has been asked to file a statement of defense in a hearing where the government has been taken to Court for ordering the eviction of families from Sogi.

The hearing has been prompted by the Tokuma family who is seeking an interim order from the Supreme Court to stop the government from ordering them off the land they claim is rightfully theirs. 

Representing the family is lawyer, Pau Tafaogalupe Mulitalo. He said the Attorney General has requested for a final adjournment to file a statement of defense. Pau added they are ready to proceed but will now wait until 21 November when the hearing resumes.

The family is also asking the Court to stop S.L.C. and any other government agents or staff from interfering directly or indirectly with members of the Tokuma family regarding surveying and evaluation works or any other matters related to land. 

According to Pau, the Ministry of Public Enterprises is one of the respondents because it is in charge of all the public bodies and in relation to other development that involves land in Sogi.  

The Tokuma family claims that the land they live on now in Sogi was gifted to their predecessor Turore Tokuma by the then Commissioner of Crown Estates of Samoa who was also the Public Trustee and a member of the Legislative Council of Samoa, the late Percival Ernest Patrick in the 1920s.  Turore Tokuma was a driver and was treated as a member of the household of Mr. Patrick.  

The family also claims the gifted land they now occupy was given to their predecessor and his wife and children in recognition of his “service, loyalty and compensation for the execution that almost killed Mr Tokuma for the crime he did not commit”.  

The Tokuma family is arguing that their continuous occupation of the same land was endorsed by the first Prime Minister of Samoa, Mataafa Fiame Mulinu’u.  

“The deed through his words reaffirmed lawful ownership and occupation of the land by the Tokuma family when Mataafa said “your mother and children can live on the land where you are now as the government cannot afford to pay your father”,” claim the family.  

© Samoa Observer 2016

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