“Sa’u was a bold, committed and fearless leader”

The Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, yesterday paid tribute to the late Sa’u Justina Fiapa’ipa’i Sa’u, saying she was a bold, committed and a fearless leader in the Government.

The Minister joined family, relatives, friends and colleagues of the late bureaucrat at the Catholic Church in Manono-uta.

He spoke during the funeral service on behalf of the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who was not able to attend.

“A pillar in the Samoan government, Sa’u was a bold, committed and fearless leader who took risks and speaks volume. Sa’u played an enormous role in the economic growth of government finances today,” he said.

Sili said it was hard to accept that Sa’u was no longer alive and highlighted qualities, which he said made her unique from her peers.

“She is highly intelligent who is well known for quick reaction to solve significant issues. She is full of humility, unlike many who praise themselves, but not Sa’u, she was a down-to-earth human being.”

Sa’u was the first Chief Executive Officer of the Government’s investment arm, Unit Trust of Samoa (U.T.O.S.), and played a key role in its establishment. 

Her contribution to the Government and its privatization policies was also highlighted by the Minister in church yesterday, he said: “Furthermore, when considering her education background and her role in privatization of some Government services and the establishment of U.T.O.S. I can confidently say there is no one like Sa’u. She is very knowledgeable on vast projects that are undergone by U.T.O.S.”

Sofia Evile, the mother of the deceased, said her daughter had a challenging life at a young age and survived drowning and getting hit by a truck. 

“At the age of three she almost drowned and fortunately she was revived."

Two years later Sa’u was struck by a pickup truck and she suffered severe injuries, but she beat the odds and lived to be 43-years-old.” 

Sa’u from the villages of Apolima, Faala Palauli and Ululoloa leaves behind four children - two boys and two girls. 

She was into her third term as the C.E.O. of U.T.O.S. when she died last month, and was previously a lecturer at the National University of Samoa and the University of Auckland. 

Her achievements at U.T.O.S. included the first ever dividend payment of seven sene per unit to all unit holders in 2012, and the increase in membership to 881 in the same year which catapulted the organisation to the top in terms of shareholder numbers.  

Three years later U.T.O.S. improved its performance and declared a net profit of $1,003,726 (compared to $937,301 for the previous year). These achievements were made during her term in office. 

Besides being the C.E.O. of U.T.O.S. she also sat on the boards of Samoa Submarine Cable Company, Bluesky Samoa Limited, Samoa Institute of Directors and the Marist Brothers Governance (Education) Board.

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