Acting Commissioner rejects armoury claims

By Lanuola Tupufia – Ah Tong 18 November 2016, 12:00AM

Acting Police Commissioner, Lei’ataua Fata Aviga, has denied claims the government has lost confidence in the Ministry’s handling of firearms.

In confirming that the keys to armoury have been confiscated by the Acting Prime Minister, Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama, Lei’ataua said this done as a precautionary measure.

He denied suggestions that perhaps Cabinet feared the worst following the developments at the Police station on Monday.

“No, I don’t think that is the reason,” Leiataua said.

“They (Cabinet) make orders and we follow it. It’s just for security purposes - that is all.” 

According to Leiataua there is only one key to the armoury and that was taken by the Acting Prime Minister.

He explained that the only person who holds the key is the Police Commissioner. Asked if the removal of the key will affect their work, the Acting Commissioner said no. “It’s only used in special operations,” he said. 

“Like raids and during Independence day then we use it subject to the approval of the Minister (of Police).”

About the suspensions of Assistant Police Commissioner, Samoa Mulinu’u Mulinu’u, Leiataua said he was unaware of the details.

“I don’t really know why he was suspended,” he said. 

“There are no charges against him that I am aware of but you would have to find out from there (Cabinet) about why he is suspended. Even he (Samoa) doesn’t know why he’s being suspended.”

According to a press statement, Cabinet has suspended Samoa under Section 56 of the Police Service Act 2009. 

A Commission of Inquiry has also been called pursuant to section 55(4) of the same Act, to review Samoa’s conduct and performance while undertaking his duties as a Police Officer. 

In terms of divisions within the Ministry of Police, Leiataua rejected such claims. 

“Nothing is happening,” he said. “Usually us Samoa if something happens we get together and talk about it. Police are one and working as a team and that is what we are pushing for. Police officers should be obedient and we have a chain of command. 

“The young ones should listen to those with higher ranks than them.”

As for the constable officer that intervened in the arrest of the Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil on Monday, Leiataua said he is not suspended but has been charged. 

Police Spokesperson, Su’a Muliaga Tiumalu also echoed the same view. 

He told the media yesterday that there are no differences within the Ministry of Police. 

When he was asked about the arrest of Fuiavailiili that caused some commotion, Su’a denied this. He said police were doing their work. 

“Everything is going well,” he said. “People might talk about differences but in reality nothing is happening and even the works of police they are doing their work according to their oath. 

“Things happen but at the meantime everything is at peace.”

By Lanuola Tupufia – Ah Tong 18 November 2016, 12:00AM

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