King Faipopo seeks to raise $10,000 bail bond
The man accused of making defamatory statements against Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, is seeking to raise $10,000 to help him clear his name in Court.
Malele Paulo, better known as King Faipopo, has setup a Go Fund Me page, a fundraising platform to help him pay for a bail bond for his case.
As of yesterday the page, which was set up in February 15, had raised only $625.
The page says Mr. Paulo’s intention to return to Australia so he can go back to work and see his family.
He promises to return for his Court hearing scheduled on 5 March 2019.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, the father-of-four said he is the main source of income for his family waiting for him in New South Wales (N.S.W.) Australia.
“My wife works part time which does not cover the rent for us,” said Paulo.
“I feel embarrassed asking for money because I do not want to use people and take their money but I am thankful that there are people who are willing to help my cause. So this money will go towards my bail bond and my wife and children can move and live with relatives if we’re unable to pay for the rent.”
Asked what happens if he does not reach their targeted $10,000, he said: “If worse comes to worse then I will have to borrow some money to do this. There will be tough times but such is life, that is how it goes.”
Paulo is a roofer for a private company in Australia.
He is a member of the S.S.I.G. and was detained and charged when he came to Samoa for his mother’s funeral.
On the Go Fund Me Page, it stated, “King Faipopo lives in Australia and has been voicing his concerns, using his freedom of speech to raise awareness about the corruption in Samoa and issues to the alienation of customary land in Samoa”.
Police said an investigation started in August 2018 when a complaint was filed by the Prime Minister with police in relation to alleged defamatory statements made by Paulo.
In a statement Police said Paulo had publicly said “that the complainant, committed murder, corruption, theft, gun smuggling and other statements that are strongly denied by the complainant."
“If convicted the defendant is liable to a fine not exceeding 175 penalty units or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months per charge.”
The Police also used the opportunity to issue a warning about the abuse of social media.
“The damage that defamatory statements on social media outlets and cyber bullying has done to several members of the community is a matter that these laws are designed to address,” the statement said.
“Where complaints are laid with the police, we will do our best to assist those being victimised on social media platforms by any false statements.”