The P.M. and “King Faipopo”

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

An interesting development in relation to the Criminal Libel Law emerged on Wednesday last week.

A few months after Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi and his administration expedited the re-introduction of the law that has become obsolete and erased from the law books of most civilized countries in the world, the Government has quickly moved to use it. 

This time it has been put to use against a certain “King Faipopo” who has apparently been making some very serious allegations against the Prime Minister on Facebook. 

Without knowing the details, you only need to look at the name “King Faipopo” to get the idea that this person, whoever he is, must be a big joke. 

You see, in Samoa, there are no kings. Although everyone is a faipopo in some sense since we all need coconuts for daily sustenance, to claim one is the king of faipopo is a dead giveaway that one is not serious about anything.

And yet this so-called “King Faipopo” has obviously gotten under Prime Minister Tuilaepa’s skin to compel him to quickly exercised the authority he has to bring legal action against this individual.

In a statement issued by the Press and Communications Division of the Office of the Prime Minister, it said Prime Minister Tuilaepa has asked the Attorney General’s Office to begin the process of requesting extradition. Tuilaepa wants the “king” who lives in Australia to be brought to Samoa to be charged under the Criminal Libel Act. 

By the way, the “King” is a man by the name of Malele Paulo. During the past few weeks, he’s been making some very damaging and serious allegations against Tuilaepa. 

For instance, he has accused Tuilaepa of murder and smuggling firearms. In one of his posts, Paulo claimed that Prime Minister Tuilaepa murdered his “uncle” and late Cabinet Minister Luagalau Levaalu Kamu by plotting his assassination.

He further accused the Prime Minister as the “ringleader in the alleged smuggling of three containers of firearms into Samoa.” 

As if that’s not serious enough, he then made a classic mistake. He dared Tuilaepa to pay for his airfares so that he can travel to Samoa from Australia for a face-to-face meeting.

Well if Paulo wanted attention, he has got the Prime Minister’s attention now. On top of that, he has also been given an invitation to meet Tuilaepa in the Courtroom.

“I am not prohibiting anyone from exercising their freedom of speech or freedom of expression but I take issue when the rights of the innocent, like myself are violated through lies and deceit,” Tuilaepa said in the statement.

“This kind of lying and attacking members of the community through social media is what the law was designed to prevent. And my respect is based on factual claims provided there is sufficient evidence to prove that the claims are truthful.

“It’s a public record that the men who assassinated the late Cabinet Minister had their fair trial and were convicted but this nit wit appears to have his own story to prove otherwise.

“If that is the case, it’s only fair for him to present his evidence in Court in Samoa.”

Tuilaepa said he has instructed the Attorney General and the Police to begin the process of bringing the king to Samoa.

“As a King, he will be treated first class in terms of brand new accommodation quarters and three square meals a day free of charge, when the new Tanumalala Prison is completed,” Tuilaepa said.

Will the King take up Prime Minister Tuilaepa’s invitation? And will Australia grant Prime Minister Tuilaepa’s request to have Paulo brought to Samoa to face the music in terms of the allegations he has made? 

Make no mistake about it; the allegations against the Prime Minister are very serious and defamatory. Apart from his position as the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa is entitled to be protected against such allegations, just like any other member of the public. No one deserves to be subjected to such unfounded and baseless allegations driven by malice and hate.

Paulo could well make history here. Unlike the other infamous faceless blogger who doesn’t have an identity, King Faipopo is different. We know who he is. What happens next would be very interesting to see. Stay tuned!

Have a wonderful week Samoa, God bless!

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