P.M. still waiting for "secret whisper" on new Chief Justice

The Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration will have to wait until the Prime Minister hears a "secret whisper from God” on whom to appoint as the new Chief Justice.

In the meantime, Justice Vui Clarence Nelson is the Acting Chief Justice.

Speaking during his weekly programme on Thursday, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi said it may take up to six months before a new Chief Justice is appointed. 

The former Chief Justice His Honour Patu Tiava'asu'e Falefatu Sapolu retired on Tuesday after serving 26 years and nine months on the bench. 

 “I am still praying and once I acquire the whispers from God, then a decision will be made," Tuilaepa said.

“In the meantime, a Judge is now acting in the Chief Justice’s position. 

“That Judge is now an actor and is there to warm the seat of the Chief Justice…. for a week, maybe a couple of weeks, or even a whole month.

“But if it takes up to six months, that’s not a bad thing at all,” said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister earlier this week acknowledged Patu for his years of service and added that it is not an easy task as the head of the judiciary. 

Tuilaepa highlighted the challenging nature of judiciary work, saying it’s impossible to please everyone while reiterating that in any court case, the winning party is always full of praise for the Judge while it is natural that the losing party is critical.

But these are the challenges that Chief Justice Patu had to navigate, the P.M. added before commending the former Chief Justice's professionalism, dedication and commitment.

He used the Samoan term “malolo manumalo” (retiring as a winner) to describe Patu’s exit from the bench.

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