Media not allowed in Disputes Tribunal

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene ,

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Justice Niava Mata Tuatagaloa.

Justice Niava Mata Tuatagaloa. (Photo: Samoa Observer)

The Sports Disputes Tribunal ordered by Cabinet to look into the removal of rugby legend, Fesola’i Va’aiga Tu’igamala, as President of the Samoa Amateur Boxing Association (S.A.B.A.) started yesterday afternoon.

Justice Niava Mata Tuatagaloa is presiding.

The tribunal includes former Cabinet Minister, Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau and E.F.K.S. Vailele Church Minister, Reverend Siaosi Salesulu, as members. 

However, before the matter proceeded, Justice Tuatagaloa announced that it was closed to the media.

“Before we proceed with the matter, I just want to let members of the media who are inside the courtroom today (yesterday) know that the proceedings will be a closed matter,” she said.

“The media as well as anybody who does not have any connection in the matter is not allowed. Thank you.”

In the beginning of this month, documents obtained by the Samoa Observer stated that Fesola’i, through his lawyer, sought help from Cabinet after he was being removed by S.A.B.A. 

At the beginning of 2017, he became the President of S.A.B.A., where boxing was eventually introduced into schools as part of developing the sport.

But things took an interesting twist when an “internal dispute” surfaced and things turned sour. 

He was eventually removed. That’s when Fesola’i’s lawyer sought help from Cabinet. 

They wanted the “internal disputes within S.A.B.A.” to be referred to the Samoa Sports Disputes Tribunal for a resolution.

The warrant of appointments for Tribunal Members was signed by the Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II and Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiavaasu’e Falefatu Sapolu.

According to the terms of reference, the Tribunal has been asked to investigate:

• The Annual General Meeting of S.A.B.A. on 10 November 2017 and whether correct and proper procedures were followed at this meeting;

• The current executive membership of S.A.B.A. and whether such positions held were obtained appropriately;

• The removal of Fesola’i Va’aiga Tuigamala as President of S.A.B.A. and whether such removal followed proper procedure and the constitution of S.A.B.A; 

• The constitution of S.A.B.A. and if there are inconsistencies so as to the cause of confusion.

Cabinet has also asked the Tribunal to provide directions on: 

• The constitution of S.A.B.A. and possible changes that make the constitution clear, promotes accountability and responsibility; and

• Policies that may foster an environment of honesty, good governance and will be beneficial to development of amateur boxing.

Contacted for a comment, Fesola’i told the Samoa Observer that he doesn’t want to say anything until the Cabinet-ordered Sports Disputes Tribunal is finished.

“Thank you for the opportunity to respond,” he said. 

“I regret to say, however that as much as I want to address the issues that have been raised publically by S.A.B.A., I respect the process that has been put forward by Cabinet.

“Cabinet has ordered a Tribunal and that is where everything will come out. I look forward to presenting my side of the story before the Tribunal and therefore I cannot comment.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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