The call from the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi for a special Commission of Inquiry into the Land and Titles Court is long overdue.
That is the opinion of Tautua Samoa M.P., Olo Fiti Vaai.
According to Olo, the public has long suffered from the delays in the decisions made by the Land and Titles Court.
“The Courts have been advised by Parliament for quite some time about the grievances from our people,” said Olo. “We have cases that have been dragged on from ten years ago without any final decision. I fully support the call because if Parliament doesn’t make the call on the Land and Titles Court then no one will.”
The M.P. pointed out that allowing the Commission of Inquiry would mean that Parliament is assisting the other arm of democracy.
He added that the ruling Human Rights Protection Party will always have the upper hand when making such decisions for a Commission of Inquiry.
In parliament on Monday, Tuilaepa made the unexpected announcement.
He stressed the need to have checks for judges in the Land and Titles Court.
“If the Court does not fix its internal issues, there is a duty of the Parliament to make an order with the two third support from the M.Ps in the House,” said Tuilaepa.
The Prime Minister then moved a motion to establish a special Parliamentary Committee to investigate the work of L.T.C. Judges and report to Parliament for October’s sitting.
He said parliament can submit an application to the Head of State to remove any Judge who is not performing their role with honesty.
“The matters they should look into is, firstly, rule and procedures of Land and Titles Court.
“Secondly the appointments and scrutiny of the Land and Titles judges performances.
The investigation will look directly into ways to advice the Land and Titles Court development mainly on a clearer rules and procedures to deal with matters before the Court and to minimise wasted time of respondents and the load of work for the Courts where government has also wasted money on.”
Tuilaepa highlighted that the investigation should make it clear that the appointments of L.T.C. judges are contractual so they can be re-interviewed if they are still qualified to continue their duties.
“I don’t have to say it but every work place should have its own checks to make sure that they are doing their duties.
“It’s the same with the government Ministries and State owned enterprises where after every three years the contract will be re-advertised to see if there is anyone else better than the boss (of the ministry).”
He recalled that during his speech in the first sitting of the XVI Parliament he spoke about many people who had raised concerns about the performance of the L.T.C.
“There are a few concerns about the criminal Courts which include the District and Supreme Court. But 99percent of the complaints have shown distress from the public because of decisions from the Land and Titles Court
“The truth is no matter how hard we try to make something a 100 percent, we cannot make it a 100percent because the good wheat will always grow together with the bad ones.”
However, Tuilaepa believed that even a person must try their best to fulfill their duties if they too believe that every appointment is from God.
“It’s an offense when we are given an appointment by thee who own it and we do not fully commit to it and work with all honesty.”
The Commission will be chaired by M.P. for Vaisigano no1, Lopaoo Natanielu Mua and Deputy Chairman is Nafoitoa Talaimanu Keti.