Family’s legal claim over land in Court
The fight by the Tokuma family to stop the government from evicting them from Sogi has reached the Supreme Court.
The family is seeking an interim order from the Supreme Court to stop the government from ordering them off the land they claim is rightfully theirs.
In the Supreme Court yesterday, the matter was scheduled for mention.
But the parties were called into Chambers by the Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu.
Representing the descendants of Turore Tokuma is lawyer, Pau Tafaogalupe Mulitalo, Unasa Iuni Sapolu and Leali’ifano Dr. Iopu Tanielu.
Tafailagi Peniamina and Ryan Masinalupe of the Attorney General’s Office represented the Samoa Land Corporation and the Ministry of Public Enterprises in the matter.
Outside Court, Pau said a motion for orders was discussed in Chamber and a declaration that the land is occupied by the Tokuma family.
One of the interim orders sought is to stop government from relocating the Tokuma family from their land at Sogi until substantive proceedings on the motion are concluded.
The second interim order is to stop S.L.C. and any other government agents or staff from interfering directly or indirectly with members of the Tokuma family regarding surveying and evaluation works or any other matters related to land.
The matter has been further adjourned for mention on 24th October next week.
According to Pau, the Ministry of Public Enterprises is one of the respondents because it is in charge of all the public bodies and in relation to other development that involves land in Sogi.
The Tokuma family claims that the land they live on now in Sogi was gifted to their predecessor Turore Tokuma by the then Commissioner of Crown Estates of Samoa who was also the Public Trustee and a member of the Legislative Council of Samoa, the late Percival Ernest Patrick in the 1920s.
Turore Tokuma was a driver and was treated as a member of the household of Mr. Patrick.
The family also claims the gifted land they now occupy was given to their predecessor and his wife and children in recognition of his “service, loyalty and compensation for the execution that almost killed Mr Tokuma for the crime he did not commit”.
The Tokuma family is arguing that their continuous occupation of the same land was endorsed by the first Prime Minister of Samoa, Mataafa Fiame Mulinu’u.
“The deed through his words reaffirmed lawful ownership and occupation of the land by the Tokuma family when Mataafa said “your mother and children can live on the land where you are now as the government cannot afford to pay your father”,” claim the family.