Lawyer seeks Court’s discretion

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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SETTLING MATTERS IN COURT: Associate Minister of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Peseta Vaifou Tevaga and Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polata’ivao.

SETTLING MATTERS IN COURT: Associate Minister of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Peseta Vaifou Tevaga and Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polata’ivao. (Photo: File)

Lawyer Leuluaiali’i Olinda Woodroffe has asked for the Court’s discretion to allow for three additional witnesses in the hearing of a lawsuit filed against a Cabinet Minister and his business associates.

The witnesses include the Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Commercial Bank.

Leuluaiali’i also asked the Court to “order production of documents” from a non-party to the case. 

These were among the motions, Leuluaiali’i sought in the Supreme Court before Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren yesterday.

The matter is a civil suit filed by the Associate Minister of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Peseta Vaifou Tevaga, against the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polata’ivao and his business associates, Apulu Lance Polu and Martin Jonathan Schwalger. 

The defendants are represented by Semi Leung Wai. 

Last year, La’auli and other shareholders of the Local Partners and Associates lodged a complaint against Peseta accusing him of fraud and forgery. 

The Supreme Court found Peseta not guilty of the charges. 

Now, Peseta is suing his former business partners. The hearing continued yesterday and Leulua’iali’i argued that her motions are vital.

“It’s necessary to get these documents,” he said. “All we hear are based on hearsay. I tried to get the documents from the Police thus far unsuccessfully and I got nothing from the defendants. 

 “It’s an important case to Samoa especially to do with running of businesses, doing all sorts of business commercial activities.” 

But the defense lawyer raised the issue that the case is at its closing stages and these are last minute motions. 

Justice Tafaoimalo was aware of this.

“That is the reason why discovery is there so that we are not getting these surprises at trial where the defendants say one thing and we’re hearing it for the first time,” Justice Tafaoimalo said.

The hearing continues. 

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