S.L.C confirms Vaitele-Tai's land ownership belongs to eight individuals

Chief Executive Officer of Samoa Land Corporation, Ulugia Petelo Kavesi, has confirmed that the Vaitele Tai land is owned by eight individuals and some are not Vaitele-Tai residents.

The eight are Matai'a Lynn Netzler, Toi Autagavaia, Sakaria Taituave, Toi Faleao, Poutali Maiava, Pula Tavita Pula, Faleafa Lepou Talaimanu Keti, Galumalemana Vaita'i Aiuta.

The land dispute between Vaitele Tai residents and the Government has been an ongoing issue. The eight landowners were represented by their lawyer Diana Roma.

It was disputed by residents of Vaitele Tai that the 29-acre land they have been leasing for more than 20 years should be in their hands by now. But Ulugia told Samoa Observer that their decision is based on a Court decision. 

"The issue had been going on for years and Samoa Land Corporation's decisions are all based on the final calls from the Court and the decision finalised resulted in favor of these eight individuals," he said.

The village mayor of Vaitele-Tai, Toi Ioane Papalii, who has been waiting for a decision on the land dispute, just learnt from Samoa Observer that the land is now in the hands of these individuals.

"I am very surprised by what I have just learnt from Samoa Observer. But on my desk are a bunch of papers of court results that I have been trying to sort because our village is still battling for this land because we were given a deal," Toi said.

Toi said according to paper works he has, they are to own the land after the lease expires, but Ulugia said this was one of the conditions issued by the Government back then.

"If that is the case, then how about our money?," Toi said.

He said an instruction was given by Samoa Land Corporation to measure the lease and divide it among the Matais and whoever is in the village, and whatever difficulties they encountered will be dealt with by the "Alii ma Faipule" of the village.

"By that time, the Matai'a people had slowly stayed away from the case and that is why we are still fighting for this because it was our money that was used for the land measurement," he added.

Toi said the committee handling the measurement then were mostly related to the Matai'a title. With suspicion, he added the village is unaware of their money used for the land measurement during that time.

Ulugia thought the dispute is mostly between the Vaitele-Tai residents and these eight individuals.

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