A doctor jailed for a sexually related crime is serving his 12-month prison sentence at Vaia’ata prison in Savai’i, Assistant Police Commissioner Fauono Talalelei Tapu confirmed.
In doing so, Fauono emphatically denied reports that Dr. Emosi Puni is spending his sentence time at one of his homes in Savai’i, not far from the Vaia’ata Prison.
“It’s not possible for anything like that to happen,” said Fauono.
“No, they are strictly being kept at the prison.”
Fauono said Dr. Puni requested to be moved to the big island prison late last year.
A concerned member of the community contacted the Samoa Observer to say that Dr. Puni owns a house not far from Vaia’ata prison.
Dr. Puni was sentenced to a year behind bars after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a female patient in 2005.
He appealed this decision last November but it was dismissed by the Court of Appeal.
According to Fauono prisoners can decide on which prison they want to serve their time.
“In this case Dr. Puni requested last year after (the Christmas) holidays to be moved to Vaia’ata Savai’i.”
An officer at Vaia’ata confirmed Dr. Puni was inside Vaia’ata prison yesterday.
Meanwhile, three of Samoa’s most dangerous prisoners are still on the run, according to a source at the Police last night.
As of press time last night, Nazario Chong Nee, Samaoso Luamanu and female prisoner Punaotala Sakai – had not yet been found.
Last Saturday, Assistant Commissioner Fauono confirmed that “a special team has been sent out to search for the men and woman who escaped from prison.”
Fauono said that he had joined the team to help out with the investigation.
“It is still ongoing and if there is an update, then we will let you know.”
Police were warning members of the public to be on the alert. Fauono said the two men are considered highly dangerous and should not be approached.
“Members of the public are advised to contact the Police as soon as they see them,” he said.
Chong Nee is a male of Aleisa, Tuana’imato and Vaitele who escaped on Saturday. The other escaped convict is a woman by the name of Punaotala Sakai. She is a female from Salelavalu, Savai’i who also escaped on Saturday. The third runaway prisoner is Samaoso Luamanu, of Salelologa, Savai’i. He took off from prison last Tuesday.
Samoa is a member of what is called the Cartagena Dialogue, a grouping of 30 countries who claim to be dedicated towards positive action on climate change.
On its front page of 17 January the Samoa Observer published the story titled “$5 more a month an insult”. The “$5” in the title is the new monthly increase in the pensions for Samoa’s senior citizens, all those who are aged 65.
Samoa as a tourism destination is under the spotlight this week. At the Samoa Tourism Authority’s (S.T.A) Cultural Fale last night, the 2014 Samoa Tourism Exchange officially opened.
And so the week that has been has come and gone with its blessings, joys, challenges, heartaches and headaches. As we arrive at another junction in this journey we call life, there are times when we must stop, pause for a moment and take a deep breath.