Amount of public funds paid out as a result of settlements against the government, unclear

The Ministry of Finance remains mum on the amount of public funds paid out as a result of civil litigation against the Samoa Government in the last five years. 

Five weeks ago, the Samoa Observer inquired with the MOF Chief Executive Officer, Leasiosiofa’asisina Oscar Malielegaoi via email on the issue and to date the amount of settlement paid cannot be ascertained. 

In the email, the Samoa Observer pointed out to the CEO the Police has a “number” of lawsuits filed against them and one case was recently settled. 

In 2015, Mr. Misa filed the $1 million lawsuit against Ministry of Police in relation to an incident where he was arrested at gunpoint at the Fugalei market. 

The search and his arrest by a contingent of armed police officers was carried out on orders from the Police Commissioner Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil. 

Last month the Attorney General’s office confirmed the case has been settled and refused to divulge the amount of the payout. 

Another Police matter was settled in 2017, where a $100,000 settlement was paid to the family of the three-year-old boy who was detained in a Police cell with his father in 2014.

Last March, the Electrical Power Corporation paid $20,000 to the family of a boy who was electrocuted by live wires on the main road. This matter has been settled and this is in addition to the $20,000 already paid, said EPC, Chief Executive Officer, Tologata Tile Tuimaleali’ifano. 

Last year Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi in Parliament raised the concern with EPC over the $2.1 million tala that was paid out to a family following an incident where an electricity pole fell onto a car and killed a man. 

The CEO in early March, 2019 said they were working on a response to the questions. 

“Apologies for the delayed response, as we are awaiting confirmation of a few cases that have been cleared by the courts. 

“I will confirm everything once we have clearance and confirmation from the relevant agencies,” said the CEO earlier this month.

The Samoa Observer sent its fourth email on 13 March, 2019 and the same response was given by the CEO. 

“Sorry for the delayed response.

We will release the requested information once we have all the information from our relevant agencies,” said Leasiosio. 

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