“They are my children,” says Prime Minister Tuilaepa

By Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa 21 August 2016, 12:00AM

The headlines are riveting. And so are the stories below the headlines.  Published in the Samoa Observer over two days last week, they read: 

*Director of Prosecutions arrested and charged. 17 August 2016

*Police boss charged. 17 August 2016

*Director of National Prosecution Office suspended. 19 August 2016. 

*Commissioner of Police suspended. 19 August 2016. 

*Cabinet suspends top govt. officials. 19 August 2016. 

*P.M. downplays legal scrap between Police and N.P.O.  19 August 2016.

Now assuming that you have not read the stories under these headlines, but you are keen to know what this is all about, I’ll be brief.

On the arrest of the Director of Prosecutions, this is apparently what happened. She was on her way to work in the morning, when she was stopped by police officers outside her office.

The officers were in uniform, some of them were members of the Tactical Operation Squad (T.O.S.), and right there they executed the arrest warrant.

Subsequently, the director, Mauga Precious Chang, was arrested and charged.

Later, Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Lincoln Keil, confirmed that Mauga had been charged.

He said in a statement published in the Samoa Observer on 17 August 2016: “Police can confirm that they have charged the Director of the National Prosecution Office, Mauga Precious Chang with negligent driving causing injury and dangerous driving.”

He also said: “The decision to charge is the result of a police investigation where the file was then reviewed by an independent prosecutor.

“Police informed the Director in May shortly after the incident involving three damaged vehicles, that an investigation had commenced and charges were possible.

 “However the matter was then referred for an independent review of the evidence, which is now complete.”

The statement from the Police did not give a date for her Court appearance.” That story appeared in the Samoa Observer on 17 August 2016.

In the newspaper’s same edition, a story titled “Police boss charged” was published.

It said the Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili, had been charged in connection with the allegedly wrongful arrest last year of a member of the public, Suitupe Misa, at the Fugalei Market.

Asked for a comment, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration, Papali’i John Taimalelagi, said those charges were filed by the National Prosecution Office, on 12 August 2016.

He also confirmed that the Police Commissioner was due to appear in the Supreme Court on 29 August 2016, to answer to the charges. 

He declined to comment further.

And then that scathing report by Ombudsman, Maiava Iulai Toma, showed up. First surfaced earlier this year, it attacked the Police Force and Commissioner Fuiavailiili Lincoln Keil in particular, as “irresponsible”, “unlawful” and “cruel”.

It was in connection with the way they’d conducted their investigation into that unfortunate incident at the Fugalei Market, in August last year.

The report said the defendant, Suitupe Misa, was arrested at gunpoint by a contingent of armed plain clothed officers, in front of a shocked and distressed Fugalei marketplace. 

It transpired that Mr. Misa had “committed no crime” and the arrest was “carried out based on insubstantial and second-hand evidence.”

The Ombudsman’s report also said: “The Commissioner of Police failed to meet basic investigation principles and placed undue consideration on second hand evidence, leading directly to the wrongful and unlawful arrest of Suitupe.

“The Commissioner’s decision to arm and allow the use of firearms by his officers contravened the Use of Force policy, was irresponsible, and could negatively impact the overall safety and security within Samoa.”

Now that’s something to think seriously about I guess.  

Still, does the Office of the Ombudsman’s have the constitutional mandate that empowers it to publicly condemn a defendant, who is being accused of an alleged crime even before he has been found guilty by a court of law, of having committed that crime?

It would be interesting to know.

And then there is Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who as we all know, is clearly the man of the moment and indeed, this time it looks as if he is so quite anxious to take that sloppy leap in the fray, he just cannot wait.

On 19 August 2016, the story titled “P.M. downplays legal scrap between Police and N.P.O.”, was published in the Samoa Observer.

In it, Tuilaepa is shown to be acting as if he has truly mellowed down in the role of a caring parent, having shed all those nasty symptoms that had turned him into the imposing tyrant, everyone has been talking fearfully about.

And then commenting on the decision by Cabinet to suspend Police Commissioner, Fuiavailili, and N.P.O. Director, Mauga Precious Chang, he apparently shocked many when made them look like great kids who, in his opinion, this country definitely could do without.

Bear in mind though that as Prime Minister, he would have a lot to do with that decision by Cabinet, if you really want to know. 

Still, this is how his little chat with the Samoa Observer went. 

“Have you seen these two?” Tuilaepa said. “They are so youthful, they are very good looking and they are both very new to their jobs.”

Oh yeah!

He went on: “The Commissioner is new to the role and even this lady has just started. If you look at her, you would think she is only twelve years old, but they are both very intelligent.”

Oh yeah!

Which was when Tuilaepa dropped the Atomic Bomb. 

He said: “Mind you, they are my children. They are just having a little scrap.”

He took a breather and then continuing, he said: “Now you are a parent. There is a stage when a baby who is breast-fed suddenly gets the fever.’

Oh, yeah!

“That’s right,” he said. “That’s when they finally start to grow their teeth, and the gums will start to show.”

Oh, yeah!

“Yes,” he said. “It’s teething problems, you see.  You suddenly develop a fever so both these guys are a bit feverish at the moment.”

Oh, yeah!

“Now remember this,” he said. “They are both responsible for the handling of charges so they are just testing their skills on each other, so that when it is time for major matters, they would be used to it.”

Oh yeah!

“That’s right,” he said. “When the matters are resolved, they will return to work with their batteries fully recharged.”

Oh yeah! How full are they allowed to charge those batteries Mister Prime Minister?

He ignored the question and looked as if he was about to scream: You idiot! You fool. 

But then he calmed down and said: “That’s right. So they will also keep their vehicles to get around. It’s good in a way so that this can give them a break because their workload is so heavy.”

Oh yeah!

“But don’t worry,” Tuilaepa warns. “This is not a big thing.”

He’s obviously right.

Still, having listened to him raving on and on as he did, it is just impossible not to marvel that the man who’s become this country’s political genius having remained in Parliament non-stop for the last twenty seven years, fithteen of which as Prime Minister, as well as lording all that time over a government with which he can now do anything he wanted any time he wanted, and then on top of it all he’s just shown he is also a genius when it comes to making babies, so what more can anyone say? 

You tell me.

Have a peaceful Sunday Samoa, God bless.

By Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa 21 August 2016, 12:00AM

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