P.M. deflects critics over alleged passport sale

By Joyetter Luamanu 01 December 2017, 12:00AM

A former Immigration Officer charged in relation to an investigation into the alleged sale of Samoan passports online is a suspect in a similar incident in the past.

This was revealed by Prime Minister and the Minister of Immigration, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, during his weekly media briefing.

“I can confirm that one official has been charged following an investigation by the head of the Ministry which proved his involvement,” Tuilaepa said. 

“There are suspicions that it is the same guy who was involved in a previous case,” he said, adding that if anything, this reminds us that nothing under sun can be hidden forever.

Tuilaepa did not elaborate. 

The officer in question is former Immigration Officer, David Nomereta Uaine. Police Superintendent and Media Spokesperson, Logoitino Filipo, said Uaine was arrested and charged with forgery last week.

He faces the possibility of additional charges. 

Attempts to locate Mr. Uaine for a comment have been unsuccessful.

But Tuilaepa said the government has copped a lot of criticisms since the allegations about passport sales surfaced. 

“A democratic government allows people the freedom to express their opinions… even its stupid,” Tuilaepa said.

“A warrior will write their opinion and put their name there for people to see. But people who know they are stupid and write about stupid things will write things and hide behind fake names. 

“So the only thing for us to do is to make sure the skin on our foreheads is thick. We also have to forgive them, bearing in mind the scripture that says every time we forgive them, we are piling coals of curses on him.”

Tuilaepa added that it is the H.R.P.P’s ability to take criticisms on the chin that makes them strong.

“This is why the H.R.P.P has remained in power. We are transparent. Our role is to explain everything and help people understand and it’s up to them to make up their minds. 

 “People will always criticize, it’s expected and that is why we have to have thick skin. 

 “Of course the government will be criticized. Any incident involving a girl or a boy within the government, this affords the public the opportunity to criticize the government. 

“One person’s mistake will open the door for people to criticize the government, starting from its leader. 

“I am used to it and that is why I have to have thick skin on my forehead. 

“That is how you deal with these types of issues; otherwise if you don’t have think skin, you’ll die sooner rather than later. 

“So leave the public to criticize. People who do this all the time, there is no reasoning with them because it will be baseless. 

“You won’t be able to change their mind, they will never try to understand as a matter of fact they will refuse to try and understand the matter. 

“All they will do is criticize but the only avenue the Government has is to consult on the matter.

“That is why the H.R.P.P. (Human Rights Political Party) is still in power; because we will always explain issues and we leave the decision to members of the public. 

“That is the beauty of a democratic government,” said Tuilaepa. 

He said there was another form of government where it was ruled like an army, so when there was a complaint, the situation would be handled with a gun. 

“But democratic government, allows the public to express your opinion, whether it’s good or stupid. 

“And a bold one will not hide their identity. 

“However someone who publicly rants without any truth to their claim, they will hide behind a fictitious name.

“So the only thing to do is to have thick skin and don’t give in easily. Keep on smiling and forgive them.”

By Joyetter Luamanu 01 December 2017, 12:00AM

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