Tautua sues govt.

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia 11 February 2016, 12:00AM

The Tautua Samoa Party has filed a lawsuit against the government with the Supreme Court.

This was confirmed by the leader of the Opposition Party, Palusalue Fa’apo II, yesterday.

According to Palusalue, the lawsuit alleges that the government has violated section 32 of the Constitution.

 “They have breached the Constitution,” said Palusalue during a press conference at Matautu. 

The lawsuit is asking the Court to declare Prime Minister Tuilaepa’s caretaker government void to allow the Head of State to appoint a caretaker Prime Minister and Cabinet.

“It’s clear under section 32 that if a Minister resigns, all other Ministers should resign as a collective responsibility,” Palusalue said. 

 “This is clearly stated in the Constitution.”

The resignation Palusalue is referring to was that of former Minister of Finance, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga. Faumuina resigned two years ago amidst allegations against him in connection to his handling of some of his Cabinet portfolios – including the time when he was the Minister of the Samoa Land Corporation.

Palusalue believes that under the Constitution, Cabinet has a “collective responsibility” to Parliament. He believes other Cabinet Ministers should have resigned when Parliament was dissolved two weeks ago.

As of press time yesterday, it could not be confirmed when the lawsuit will be heard and who is representing the Tautua Samoa Party.

Salega M.P., Afualo Dr. Wood Salele, said it's important for the government to lead by example.

 “What’s the point of having legislation if the government does not follow it?” he asked.

“We waited until Parliament dissolves to see what Cabinet will do. But just like we suspected they will do nothing so we decided to take legal action to ensure that the people are protected.”

Lawyer and M.P for Vaimauga, Lefau Harry Schuster, said Cabinet had made a judgment that should have been done by the Court system. 

He recalled that there were allegations in the Chief Auditor’s report, which were investigated by the Officers of Parliament Committee (O.P.C). The findings were referred to the Office of the Attorney General. 

“They said there was not enough evidence to pursue the matter,” said Lefau. 

“But from my view, Cabinet has done what the Court system is here for. Cabinet is not there to convict or not, that is the Court’s job. 

“They had used the resignation as a way to escape further repercussions and to dismiss the allegations as if the claims were useless.”

Lefau said the government has used its numbers in Parliament to its advantage.

Section 32 of the Constitution says: (1) There shall be a Cabinet of Ministers, who shall have the general direction and control of the executive government of Samoa and shall be collectively responsible therefor to Parliament.  

It was not possible to get a comment from the government yesterday.


By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia 11 February 2016, 12:00AM

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