Hearing date set for nonu company dispute

The Supreme Court has set a hearing date for the ongoing dispute involving Local Partners and Associates.

Former Cabinet Minister, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt, his wife Heather Tupea Schmidt, business associates Apulu Lance Polu, Martin Schwalger and Tuitui Aiolupo appeared before the Supreme Court today.

The defendants are facing 233 criminal charges. 

Lawyer Muriel Lui appeared on behalf of La’auli and Apulu. 

Tauiliili Harry Schuster represented Mr. Schwalger, Mrs. Schmidt and Aiolupo. The prosecutor was Lucy Sio Ofoia, of the Attorney General's Office. 

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Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu adjourned the matter for a four-week hearing on the week commencing 24 June 2019. 

La’auli is facing one count of forgery; 40 charges of theft; 16 for obtaining by deception; 16 counts of causing loss by deception and 88 charges of theft by a person in a special relationship.  

La’auli’s wife faces one count of theft, three charges of causing loss by deception and three charges of theft by relationship. 

For Apulu, he faces a total of 51 criminal charges, namely one count of using a forged document, one charge of forgery; one charge for theft; 16 charges of obtaining by deception; 16 counts of causing loss by deception and an additional 16 counts of theft by relationship. 

Tuitui faces seven charges of causing loss by deception and six criminal counts of theft by a person in a special relationship, while Martin Schwalger faces one count of forgery. 

All the defendants entered a not guilty plea to the charges in October last year, when the matter was called before Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke.  

Thecharges arise from an ongoing dispute over the nonu company with the accused and another senior Member of Parliament and Associate Minister of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Peseta Vaifou Tevaga.  

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