Commissioner denies pistol allegation

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene ,

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TOP COP: Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil. (inset) Luatimu Samau.

TOP COP: Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil. (inset) Luatimu Samau. (Photo: File)

Police Commissioner, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, has denied being armed with an illegal Glock pistol. 

The Commissioner issued the denial when he took the stand in the Commission of Inquiry investigating suspended Assistant Commissioner Samoa Mulinu’u and former Police Inspector, Luatimu Samau. 

The Commission was appointed by Cabinet. It is headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Lesatele Rapi Vaai, with Tavui Annie Laumea and Namulau’ulu Sami Leota as members. 

The Counsels Assisting the Commission are Sefo Ainu’ū and Alesana Tumua of the Office of the Attorney General. 

Arthur Lesā is representing Samoa Mulinuu while Luatimu Samau is standing in prose. 

The Commission is looking into the conduct of Samoa Mulinuu in handling of the criminal matter against Sililoto Peneueta and his involvement in alleged tampering with witnesses in the District Court case of Police v Mauga Precious Chang. 

While on the stand, Samau questioned the Commissioner if he remembered walking around with a pistol without authorization. 

But Fuiava strongly denied this.

“That is absolutely false,” the Police Commissioner said. 

Samau put it to Fuiavaili’ili that on 8 July 2015, the Commissioner was issued a “clot pistol” from the Army. 

Commissioner Fuiava rejected the claim.

 “I do not do illegal stuff,” he said. “Let me just make that clear, I do not do illegal stuff. I did not sign up for this job to come and do illegal stuff. 

“I’ve got a great reputation with L.A.P.D. I didn’t come here and try to break the laws of Samoa or do illegal stuff because that’s not my nature and that is not the reason why I’m here. 

“I came here to protect the country, my country, and to improve our organization not to break laws.” 

The Commissioner noted that he started work “in April and until now and I have never carried a firearm illegally.” 

But Samau pointed the Commissioner to a form, which was issued under the Arms Division of the Police. It was a request for him to be armed. 

The Inquiry was told that the approval came five months later. 

The Police Commissioner denied the allegation.

 “This is a false document because we cannot find these books anymore. The information I’m getting is that these two right here have held back these books. This is incorrect.

“We are missing some books in relation to the firearm and up till now we are missing those books. The last time I was told that it was seen was with Samau and Samoa.”

Upon closer examination of the document, Fuiava said: “This is my signature.”

Looking at Samau, he said:  “Samau let me tell you something I don’t take sides and as Commissioner of Police I have to be fair in everything.

“Now if you dislike my decision, then I’m sorry but the fact is I have to do what’s best for the organization and Samoa.”

 Samau then proceeded to question Fuiava’s rank while working for the Los Angeles Police Department. 

Fiuiava said his highest rank was being a Senior Sergeant. Being a Commissioned Officer is new to him. 

From the Panel, Namulaulu Sami asked Fuiavaili’ili about the number of cases pending with the Police Professional Standards Unit (P.S.U). 

“I cannot recall but I’ve heard a lot of bad things about P.S.U. Things like not taking people’s complaints and they did not take any more new complaints because they said I was suspended and that is very disheartening.”

Namulauulu further asked about the case against Samau. 

“He came from Afega to conduct the investigation in Apia, and you (Fuiavaili’ili) was not aware of it. Is that normal procedure, for police officers from other police posts to investigate cases that are in Apia?” 

Fuiavaili’ili said no. 

“It’s abnormal. It’s not normal. Why would you want to bring someone from the other end when you have your own team?

“I don’t know if Samau has any background in investigation for traffic to investigate a case that is pretty much all done. It is very unusual and very suspicious. 

“I don’t know what the motives are,” said Fuiavaili’ili. 

The Inquiry has been for final submissions by all parties.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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