Drug duo plead guilty

Two men from the village of Vaimoso appeared before His Honour, Chief Justice Patu Tia’va'asue Falefatu Sapolu for the charge of possession of narcotics.

Kalifa Pene and Tafunaina Filipo Leilua both pleaded guilty.

Prosecution was lawyer, Lucy Marie Sio, of the Attorney General’s Office.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Vaimoso’s Village Council Committee Chairman of Policies, Aulavemai Asiata Tafito, confirmed Mr. Pene and Mr. Leilua were the young men whom the matai of Vaimoso had turned into the police.

However he said for Mr. Pene, his family performed a ifoga to the village and was accepted back to the village.

“The matter was addressed during our meeting last month and we informed this young man’s family of the situation at hand.

“The following week we held another meeting where Kalifa’s father attended that meeting. We instructed him to find his son and bring him before the village.

 “We informed the father, that by 1 p.m. on the Saturday of that week, if his son does not appear before the Village, then the entire family will be ousted.

“It appears the family attempted to hide the young man,” claims Aulavemai. 

“The family had an ifoga before the village and so we accepted Kalifa back but on the following Monday the Village Council accompanied the young man to the Police Office where he was questioned. 

“We left the young man with the Police, given our duty as Chiefs of the Village is to help the Police enforce the laws." 

But as for Mr. Leilua, Aulavemai said he was taken to the Police station on the same week.

“But for him he has been ousted from the village,” said Aulavemai to the Samoa Observer.

“It was on the same week that we took Kalifa to the police that we held another village meeting and this matter came to our knowledge.

“So we decided to turn him into the police and ban him from the village.”

Last month Aulavemai said the law is the law.

“In order for the law to be fully implemented, the Police needs assistance from the Village Council and it’s that notion that Vaimoso has opted to put in place these penalties,”

“These are efforts by our village to eliminate the drug problem in Samoa, let alone Vaimoso,” said Aulavemai. 

Aulavemai hopes their efforts will be considered by other villages to assure that Samoa is safe from harm. 

“We will not tell any Village Council what to do, but we merely advise to consider why we have been tasked to oversee our villages and that is to put policies in place to assure the safety of the people. 

“And of course that means making hard decisions, but this will benefit all, not just a few.” 

According to the High Chief, Samoa’s Chiefly System is one of a kind and it’s there to protect the villagers. 

“Our chiefly system is our traditional indigenous form of governance, if anything can govern our villages, set up policies.

“And at this time and age, we have the laws in place and these two should go hand in hand - the Village Councils working together with the Police - this is the purpose of our existence.

“We should not live in fear of anything or any problems,” said Aulavemai.

The matter has been referred to the Alcohol and Drugs Court for a decision.

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