P.M. calls out the legal profession

Professionals such as lawyers, accountants, doctors etc. barred from overseas from practise should also be barred from practise in Samoa.

So says Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi.

He made the point to the Samoa Law Society during his remarks to commemorate the first ten years since the Samoa Law Reform Commission was established last week.

He reiterated the call during an interview with TV Samoa, according to the Press Secretariat.

 “There are lawyers practising in Samoa who have been de-registered overseas and not allowed to practise there as a result of serious offenses and even severe professional misconduct,” he said.

Tuilaepa did not name anyone in particular.

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But he said some lawyers are practising in Samoa with total disregard to their past history. 

“Ironically, according to my information, the same lawyers have made it a habit to mislead members of the public to sue the government with full knowledge that it’s a lost cause.  And in the end, the lawyers walk away as winners pocketing thousands of tala in legal fees.

“But here is the catch and even more disturbing is the fact that it’s your taxes paying for their legal fees because in many cases, the legal aid assistance funded by government is paying for attorney fees to represent clients who cannot afford legal services and representation.

“Now I ask the Samoa Law Society if there is any justice in that.  What happened to integrity and honesty? And at the same time, I challenge the Society to do what is right and lawful.”

It was not possible to get a comment from the Samoa Law Society yesterday.

But the Prime Minister also issued the same challenge to all professional faculties.

“Taking affirmative action now will ensure their accountability and will reaffirm their trustworthiness.  Failure to do so may compromise the public’s trust,” he warned.

He added that should his administration initiates legislate actions to address the issue, he critics will have a field day with far-fetched criticisms such as labelling him as a dictator.

“I am a true believer in democracy and in this instance it is the responsibility of these professional organisations who are all educated citizens to honour their respective code of ethics.  Failure to do so would confirm my suspicions that not all but some of our professionals are gutless.”

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