Decision on Safata division pending

The court’s decision on the prohibition order for the division of the traditional boundaries for Safata District, will be delivered before the end of March. 

This adjournment follows after the hearing last Wednesday in the Supreme Court of Samoa before His Honor, Justice Lesatele Rapi Vaai. 

 During the hearing, the second respondent, Masinalupe Tusipa Masinalupe, the Registrar of the Lands and Titles Court, was struck out by consent as a respondent of this matter. 

According to Justice Lesatele, the Registrar’s role is to accept the petitions for filing, but he doesn’t have the authority to review the petition because that is up to the  court to decide. 

Lawyer Maiava Visekota Peteru, is appearing on behalf of the third respondents, Tuia Paepae, Anapu Aialii.

Afemata Apelu Aiavao applied for a strike out of the third respondents. 

The third respondents argued that the Act passed by Parliament in March 2015 dividing Safata district into Safata i Sasae and Safata i Sisifo was inappropriate as the division was not based on the traditional and customary boundaries of Safata. 

This division consequently affected the customs of Safata district. 

Justice Lesatele interrupted Ms Maiava to ask her if the determination of the Safata district is said in the law or is it being divided in the law. 

He said the law only says that one Member of Parliament is to be elected from villages of Vaie’e to Sa’anapu and one Member of Parliament is to be elected from villages of Fusi to Mulivai. 

The law does not divide the traditional boundaries of Safata District. 

However Maiava told the court that the electoral boundaries determined by the new electoral amendment act 2015 are affecting the customs of Safata district. 

But, the applicant did not agree with that argument. 

Lawyer, Taulealeausumai Tiotio representing the applicant, Leotasuatele Manusegi and others of Safata East in his submissions, told the court that the division of Safata i Sasae and Safata i Sisifo is purely for electoral purposes. 

The division is not based on customary lands and therefore does not affect the customs of Safata. 

It was a simple division identifying which villages are on the new electoral constituencies of Safata i Sasae and Safata i Sisifo without the traditional boundaries of Safata. 

This hearing of the petition filed by the third respondents to the Lands and Titles Court was set aside and it still awaits the outcome of this matter before the Supreme Court. 

His Honor, Justice Lesatele said he will deliver his decision before the end of March. 


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