Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has downplayed charges filed against Police Commissioner, Fuiavailili Egon Keil and the Director of the National Prosecution Office (N.P.O), Mauga Precious Chang.
In confirming the suspension of the senior public servants during his weekly media conference last evening, Tuilaepa compared the situation to a couple of kids being involved in a minor scrap.
“Have YOU seen these two?” Tuilaepa responded when a reporter asked him for his opinion.
“They are so youthful, they’re very good looking and they’re both very new to their jobs. The Commissioner is new to the role and even this lady has just started. If you look at her, you’d think she is only twelve years old but they are both very intelligent.”
Tuilaepa’s opinion was sought after Cabinet issued its decision to suspend Fuiava and Mauga, pending the hearing of charges against them.
“Mind you, they’re my children,” Tuilaepa said. “They’re just having a little scrap (mulumulugaveve).
“Now remember, they are both responsible for the handling of charges so they’re just testing their skills on each other so that when it’s time for major matters, they would be used to it.”
Tuilaepa also compared the situation to a baby.
“Now you are a parent,” he said. “There is a stage when a baby who is breast-fed suddenly gets the fever. That’s when they finally start to grow their teeth, the gums will start to show.”
The Prime Minister said that is similar to what is happening between the new Police Commissioner and the new Director of the N.P.O.
“You see it’s teething problems,” he said. “You suddenly develop a fever so both these guys are a bit feverish at the moment.”
The Prime Minister added that the suspension is in line with government policy.
“When the matters are resolved, they will return to work with their batteries fully recharged,” he said. “So they both get to keep their vehicles to get around, it’s also good in way to give them a break because their workload is so heavy. But it’s not a big thing.”
On Tuesday, Police officers – including members of the Tactical Operation Squad (T.O.S) turned up at the Tofilau Alesana Building to execute the warrant of arrest against Mauga.
Asked for a comment as she was being led away by the Police, she said:
"The police are just doing their job. The system works - now the police can arrest me. That means police can arrest anyone."
Mauga said she would discuss denying or accepting the charges with her lawyer.
Attempts to get a comment Commissioner Fuiava were not successful.