Govt. to introduce law to monitor returning convicts

The Government is moving to legalise the obtaining of information from deportees and tracking their movements upon their arrival in Samoa.  

That is the purpose of the proposed Returning Offenders Bill 2019, which the Police Commissioner Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil gave details on during an interview with the Samoa Observer. The bill is stated to be introduced in parliament this week.

“This bill seeks to monitor the return of deportees that come back from other countries such as Australia, New Zealand and U.S. and right now we don’t have any laws that track the movement of these people who are deported back to Samoa, for various reasons. 

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“Mind you, these people have been convicted of crimes overseas and these crimes could be violent, sexual, drugs and it could be numerous of things and it could also be over-stayers. We are not concerned about over-stayers – just those who have criminal background,” he said. 

According to Fuiavaili’ili, the bill if passed will protect the people of Samoa. He said there is an increase in the number of deportees returning to the Pacific, and not just Samoa. 

“Also there are crimes that have been committed by returnees and we want to address the issue head on and keep Samoa a little bit safer. But there are also those who have become productive members of society.” 

Acknowledging the work of the Samoa Returnees Charitable Trust, who assist deportees assimilate back into Samoan society, Fuiavaili’ili said their work is important as it strives to ensure they don’t reoffend. 

Provisions in the bill will include giving powers to a police officer to detain a returning offender, for the purposes of obtaining information. The police commissioner will also have powers to apply to the Court to issue a warrant to enter any premises – where a returning offender is residing – for the purposes of serving a determination notice or to avoid being served a notice.

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