The issues of the sa’o, customary land and you

Dear Editor,

Although the government hasn’t yet asked for tax on land, it is in the law that if they do, you must pay it. 

So rather than upset the majority and stop them leasing their Customary Land, the hunter waits until the greatest number are in the trap. The only estate or ownership granted to the person who registers is freehold subject to the absolute ownership and control by the State.

The Customary Land estate or type of ownership is the highest as it passes down from our ancestors. Unfortunately for the H.R.P.P it is owned by Aiga many of whom are too clever to follow the advice of a tricky government. 

This is why the H.R.P.P are pushing to divide families by trying to take over control of the Sa’o in every family. If any aiga member has a grudge then they can challenge their Sa’o in court and a corrupt official can make the decision including leasing customary land and transferring sovereignty to the H.R.P.P.

Registering a lease over customary land destroys its aiga ownership transferring absolute ownership and control to the H.R.P.P State. The person who registers the lease gets a lesser form of title called feehold and must do as they are told.

The Trojan Horse of the Land Titles Registration Act 2008 (The Torrens Act) (Stealing absolute control, Sovereignty, of all customary land(leases) registered, alienating all customary land rights from all Samoans connected to that land, granting the HRPP State the right to take, tax, enter or control the use of that land.)

Sections 9, 25 & 32

So far we have seen that any land registered under the LTRA 2008 becomes Freehold with sovereignty, absolute ownership, transferred to the HRPP State.

Although it is hard for non-lawyers to follow the title granted in S.32 lets the HRPP State pass laws to control that land, enter it or take it away and impose taxes. The word Sovereignty is deliberately left out but means absolute control and this is what S.32 gives the HRPP State.

Section 9 of the LTRA 2008 states that all land which becomes public land or freehold land after the Act comes into force or customary land which is licenced or leased must be entered into the Land Registrar.


S.9 (4) states:

No provision of this Act may be construed or applied

to: (a) permit or imply the alienation of customary land in a

manner prohibited by Article 102 of the Constitution;

The TORRENS SYSTEM actually alienates the Customary Land Rights of all Aiga to any piece of customary land registered under the Act.

Section 25 of the LTRA 2008 – Creating a Land Race favouring Samoans resident in Samoa and discriminating against Overseas Samoans and their Companies in breach of Article 15 of the


A lawyer or person registering a piece of land must file:

a statutory declaration from his or her Pulenuu or the Member of Parliament of his or her constituency that he or she has resided continuously in Samoa for not less than 2½ years during the

period of 3years immediately preceding the date of presentation of instrument for registration; and if a corporation written confirmation from the relevant Registrar that not more than 25% of the shares or voting power is controlled by non-resident citizens as defined under the Alienation of Freehold Land Act 1972; or

 “corporation” includes a company, incorporated society, charitable trust, statutory corporation or cooperative society or such other legal entity capable of owning property;

Section 32 of the LTRA 2008- The Alienation, by extinction, of all Customary Land Rights of any Samoan with ownership to any piece of land registered, transferring absolute ownership or Sovereignty to the HRPP State with the right to tax that land and control the way it is used, the transformation of that land to Freehold Land granting the

person registered secondary title.

32. Estate of registered proprietor paramount – (1) Despite the

existence in any other person of any estate or interest which but for this Act might be held to be paramount or to have priority, the registered proprietor for the time being of any estate or interest in land recorded in a folio of the Register shall, except in case of fraud, hold the same, subject to such other estates and interests and such entries, if any, as are recorded in that folio, but absolutely free from all other estates and interests that are not so recorded except:

 (d) any right granted by or under an


 (i) to enter, go across or do things on land for the purpose specified in the Act; or

 (ii) to recover taxes, duties, charges, rates or assessments by proceedings in respect of land; or

 (iii) to expropriate(take) land; or

 (iv) to restrict the use of land.


Maua Faleauto 

Trending Stories

Samoa Observer

Upgrade to Premium

Subscribe to
Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy unlimited access to all our articles on any device + free trial to e-Edition. You can cancel anytime.