The Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau, is asking the Court to declare his opponent, Fuatimau Maumea Leniu, ineligible for the General Elections.
Tuisugaletaua is asking to disqualify Fuatimau from being a candidate for the Territorial constituency of Vaimauga Sasae because he does not meet the three-year residential requirement under the Electoral Amendment Act 2015.
The matter was heard before Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu and Justice Lesatele Rapi Vaai.
Tuisuga is represented by lawyer, Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu while Fuatimau is represented by Lei’ataualesa Jerry Brunt.
Tuisugaletaua is not only challenging his opponent’s residential qualification, he also claims that he does not satisfy the monotaga requirement.
But Fuatimau rejects the claims by Tuisugaletaua. About the residential qualification, he said he has been in Samoa since 2013 but he needed to return to New Zealand for medical treatment.
As for his monotaga, Fuatimau said he rendered his service to the village from overseas, where he funded their family’s business.
Their business serves the villages of Lauli’i, Fagali’i Uta and Falefa.
All Lauli’i students pay half price on their fares and Fuatimau believes that this is also part of his “monotaga.”
He also contributed to various village activities.
Faalogo Sasauli Moli, a chief from Lauli’i supported Fuatimau’s evidence. He said Fuatimau has been contributing to the development of several projects in Lauli’i for years.
The decision is scheduled to be delivered at the end of the week.