A.G. challenged to a public debate

By Sarafina Sanerivi 29 March 2017, 12:00AM

A former Senior Sergeant, Siripa Uelese, has dared the Attorney General, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, to a public debate over the handling of the case, which led to the first lot of charges against the Police Commissioner.

The challenge from Siripa is made in a statement she issued to the Samoa Observer in relation to the Attorney General’s Office handling of the case of the Police Commissioner. 

“The Attorney General is still in denial of all these, and I challenge him to a public debate and let the people of Samoa decide,” she said.

Siripa also challenged the decision by the private prosecutor hired by the Attorney General, Paul Dacre, to withdraw the charges. 

She questioned his role as a prosecutor.

According to Siripa’s statement, she strongly questions the relationship between the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner. 

She also questioned the decision by Mr. Dacre to drop the charges without considering the evidence she had worked so hard to collect to prepare for the Court.

She insists that the Attorney General should have recommended to Cabinet for a Tribunal to look into the conduct of the Police Commissioner in relation to Suitupe Misa’s case, just as he did with the former Director and Assistant Director of the National Prosecution Office (N.P.O), Mauga Precious Chang and Muriel Lui.

Last night, Attorney General Lemalu rejected the challenge from Siripa in a letter to the Samoa Observer.

Written in Samoan, he said there is no valid reason for the Office of the Attorney General to be engaged in a debate with a former public servant, in this case a Police officer, who has resigned from her job. 

Lemalu added that his Office has nothing to do with the reasons behind Siripa’s resignation.

He said the matters raised by Siripa have already been dealt with by the Court and Cabinet and therefore are officially closed. 

Lastly, he said the Office of the Attorney General has moved on to fulfill it’s calling and he prays for peace upon Siripa and her family.

Siripa was suspended last month and when she was asked to report back to work, she tendered her resignation instead. She then broke her silence during an interview with the Samoa Observer, about some of the things she believed were not handled properly during the case.

Sergeant Siripa Uelese interviewed and compiled a file of witnesses in the case where a member of the public was wrongfully arrested at the Fugalei Market, which was the beginning of the charges against the Police Commissioner. 

She claims to have all copies of documents to prove her argument. 

Siripa said she wants people to know the “other side of the story.” 

She claimed that there is far more behind the decision to suspend her which is why she has decided to speak up. 

Siripa had been working at the National Prosecution Office as an Investigation Officer. It was there she became involved in the Misa Suitupe case, where the man was wrongfully arrested at gunpoint at the Fugalei Market. 

An investigation by the Ombudsman proved this.

As the Investigation Officer who was there from the beginning, Siripa said there were developments, which saddened her. At one point during the hearing of the first lot of charges against the Commissioner, Siripa said they were looking for people who were present at the time the gun was pointed at Suitupe’s head. 

 “I was shocked,” said Siripa.  “How was that possible? I was the Investigating Officer and I prepared all the documents and statements of all the witnesses.”

She said all this was ready for Court.

 “What I didn’t get was why this lawyer who is representing the A.G’s office is saying that they need to find witnesses when I already put together everything  from the beginning in a file." 

“How can they say that there are no witnesses, when I was the one who conducted the investigation and compiled the file?"

 “The investigation was the confirmation of statements of those who were involved in the case. The Ombudsman’s report was the foundation of the investigation,” she said. 

 “My instructions were to confirm all the statements included in the report, including the victim (Suitupe Misa) and everyone who were at the market and witnessed what happened on the 18th of August, 2015."

By Sarafina Sanerivi 29 March 2017, 12:00AM

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