It is the Judicial Service Commission’s decision for the Land and Titles Court President, Fepulea'i Attila Ropati, to continue to get paid while awaiting trial in the District Court.
This is according to the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration (M.J.C.A) C.E.O. Papali’i John Taimalelagi in response to questions from the Samoa Observer.
He said it was the Judicial Service Commission and not the M.J.C.A., which decided that Fepulea'i continues to receive his benefits while awaiting trial.
“To date the President of the Land and Titles Court remains on leave pending criminal charges, and continues to receive his benefits while on ‘special leave’ which includes the Court’s vehicle assigned to him and his salary.
“This is the decision by the Judicial Service Commission."
When asked as to how much the M.J.C.A. has spent on his entitlements since going on leave in March this year, Papali’i refused to comment further.
“Look don’t ask me questions you know I cannot comment most especially it’s his salary.”
Fepulea'i took leave of absence in March after criminal charges were filed against him, in connection with an assault at the Judiciary compound last year.
Last week Supreme Court Justice Leiataualesa Darryl Clarke quashed a District Court decision—which discharged him without any conviction over the assault—and ordered that the matter return to the District Court for retrial.