The Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava'asu'e Falefatu Sapolu, has issued a stern warning to members of the public against bribing the Judges.
“It’s illegal and it’s against the laws of Samoa,” he said.
“I tell you.... you may get away with it on this earth but you will be questioned about your actions when you get to heaven.”
The Chief Justice sounded the warning last week.
He was speaking during the swearing in ceremony of the newest Judge for the Land and Titles Court, Masinalupe Tusipa Masinalupe.
Chief Justice Patu highlighted the importance of honesty, making right and neutral decisions as opposed to being biased and making rulings based on bribery and other wrong motives.
The Chief Justice spoke about the need to “cling onto God as the foundation and the guidance of your decision making.”
His Honour Patu stressed that no one would ever trust the Judiciary if the Judges are corrupt and dishonest.
“No Samoan family would ever want to bring their family’s heritage to the Land and Titles Court, if the judge is unethical and dishonest,” said the Chief Justice.
“I also caution members of the public who are trying to bribe the judges.
“My advice to those of you who are trying to bribe the Judges is to please stop. Deviate from conducting those unlawful actions.
“Please be advised that it’s illegal to bribe a Judge of the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration.
“Because I tell you.... you may get away with it on this earth but you will be questioned about your actions when you get to heaven.”
Last year, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi called for a special Commission of Inquiry to investigate the performance of Land and Titles Court (L.T.C) Judges.
As reported earlier, the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry determined whether the Judges are doing what they are supposed to. At the time Tuilaepa said Parliament can submit an application to the Head of State to remove any Judge who is not performing their role with honesty.
Secondly the appointments and scrutiny of the Land and Titles judges performances. In response, earlier this year, the Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu clarified the decision by the Judiciary to abstain from a Parliament-ordered Commission of Inquiry to investigate the work of its Judges.
According to a copy obtained by the Samoa Observer, the Land and Titles Court Judges’ objection was based on a legitimate concern.
“The main reason the Judges did not take part was because of our concern that members of the public would eventually criticise the decisions by the Land and Titles Court Judges, which was clearly reflected in the report,” a translation of the response reads.
“Our firm belief is that the Judges of the Land and Titles Court are not answerable to any person or any Committee in relation to their decisions.
“The concern is that it diminishes the independence and the integrity of the Land and Titles Court and its decisions.”