Govt. paid $4 million, P.M. Tuilaepa explains
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi has called on the Samoa Solidarity International Group (S.S.I.G.) to see him directly for explanation on the Salelologa land instead of spreading "lies".
During his weekly press conference this week, Tuilaepa said the Government paid $4 million to the people of Salelologa, Savai'i, for the development of 2,872 acres of lands.
“When I became the Prime Minister, the government set goals on developments in Salelologa for Savai'i and Cabinet agreed to invest in the projects," Tuilaepa said.
"We held meetings with the chiefs of Salelologa at the time on the price of the 2872 acres. The price the government was willing to offer was $3.2 million, however during the negotiation, the government offered $4 million."
The Prime Minister said the land in question is quite rocky and "when one purchases lands, they must consider the market value".
He went on to say there were two options given to Salelologa, given its customary land the government was looking to purchase.
“We either lease it or pay annually or we can just buy the acres.”
Tuilaepa said during the meeting, the government explained their reason for investing in Salelologa.
“I told Salelologa during our meeting, the government has agreed to $3.2 million however it is up to you, and we can give it to you for $4 million. Keeping in mind these developments will benefit the people of Saleloloega.
“I told them, if I return to Apia and Salelologa has not decided, the government will not invest in Salelologa. The government can always reclaim the land on the ocean to build the developments in Savai'i, and that’s when Salelologa agreed to the $4 million. The documents were signed”.
He said after the $4 million was paid to the Salelologa Village Council, a sub village known as Sakalafai objected.
“Mind you, legally once it is signed, there is no going back,” said the Prime Minister.
He further noted a petition was filed with the Court and to date the government is still waiting for the Court’s decision. The Prime Minister did not say when the court case was filed.
“I advised the Cabinet to return 2,439 acres and we take 433 acres that we are now using, while we await the decision by the Court. Keep in mind the government has already paid the $4 million.
“And if the decision comes back and the government wins the case, we will demand the 2,439 remaining acres, or we will go after Salelologa to recover the money. That is the issue with Salelooga and I am explaining this, due to the lies being spread by people who don’t understand.
“The Bible is quite clear when there are good things; one must give thanks, as all the good things come from the secret whispers of God to us, the leaders who are in charge of the governments operation. And there is one avenue where all the negativity comes from - the devil."