There should be equal benefits for Judges and Cabinet Ministers

There should be equal benefits when it comes to Judges and Cabinet Ministers when they are on suspension or taking special leave, as a result of any investigation against them. 

“That is what the Cabinet wanted to do, but the only thing that can be done is for the Prime Minister (Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi) to write to Judiciary Services Commission (the P.S.C. of the judicial) to consider the impartiality and they should be advised to have the policies for Cabinet Minister’s aligned with theirs (J.S.C.),” said the Minister.

That is the view of Minister of Justice, Courts and Administration Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainu’u during a recent interview regarding the “special leave” with pay of the Lands and Titles Court President, Fepulea’i Atilla Ropati for over a year.

Initially the Minister said the matter is complicated as there are three branch of government and the Judiciary made their decision to place him on leave until such a time. 

Put to the Minister for his views on the fairness of the matter and Fa’aolesa said it is fair to the judiciary. 

“It may not be fair to as far as Cabinet is concerned and judiciary has decided it is fair,” he said. 

According to Fa’aolesa, Cabinet Ministers are suspended with remuneration for 30 days.

“After the 30 days and the investigation has not completed, they will no longer get their salary, but the investigation will continue until it’s completed.” 

The Minister agree that it was “unfair” the President of the Lands and Titles getting his salary for over a year, pending the outcome of his appeal in court. 

However it should taken under consideration the fact the Judicial is a different branch of government and that maybe the (J.S.C.’s) views and considerations are different from the P.S.C. policies of the 30 days suspension with pay,” said the Minister. 

The Minister then referred the matter to the J.S.C. for their views on the different scales of suspension or special leave for the judges who is being investigated. 

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