Just how hard is it to find someone in Samoa?

Last month, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi was involved in a car crash. When the news emerged, it naturally worried many people who were genuinely concerned about his safety.

Which is understandable. Tuilaepa after all is our Prime Minister and he has been for 20 years, which means anything that could endanger his life – including a car crash of all things – would naturally be cause for concern.

Now shortly after the crash, Police Superintendent, Soloi Iosefa, said a driver of another vehicle drove into the Prime Minister’s official vehicle at Aufaga during an official inspection.

“To date we have not found the driver of the vehicle that crashed into the Prime Minister’s vehicle," he said, adding that the driver is from Lepa.

As for the vehicle involved, Soloi said it had “been turned over to the family that owns it".

The good news is that Prime Minister Tuilaepa came away from the incident unharmed. He was his usual bubbly self.

“I am safe, alive and well,” he told this newspaper when he was asked about the crash. “There is no need to panic.”

He added: “I mentioned the said accident in my public address one week ago in the presence of the media at the opening of the Aufaga school which you should have picked up but there has been no media comment on it until now.

“I have been informed however that the other driver was driving under the influence (of alcohol) and is currently on the run from the authorities.”

That was last month.

Up until now, the truth is that no one seems to know the whereabouts of the driver. He seems to have vanished into thin air so that despite the smallness of Samoa, the man who crashed into the Prime Minister’s vehicle remains at large.

Isn’t that interesting? How can a man who drove a car under the influence of alcohol and crashed into the Prime Minister’s car of all cars remain unfound in Samoa?

Just how hard is it to find someone in Samoa? Don’t we live in a country where everyone knows everyone?

On the front page of the Samoa Observer on Monday, a story titled “Police identify driver who crashed into P.M. Tuilaepa’s official vehicle” brought the matter back to public attention. The story identified the wanted man as Michael Savusa from Aufaga Lepa and Faleatiu.

The story also quoted Police Superintendent, Auapaau Logoitino Filipo, appealing to the public for information on Savusa’s whereabouts.

But asked whether the Police have been to Faleatiu or Lepa, Auapaau said: “Look, it is common sense, police operation is not public information. All I can say is that we are still investigating."

Well he has a point but perhaps he needs to tell the public a lot more information so that people can help out.

The nagging question remains; how long does it take to find a driver who was involved in what appears to have been a rather minor crash?

When this newspaper visited the residence of the Faleatiu Village Mayor Lio Tuupo last week, he confirmed that Savusa, who is his nephew, no longer lives in Faleatiu. But he revealed something quite interesting.

“Savusa is a convicted murderer who has been released on parole,” said Lio.

“He is my nephew, his mother is my cousin, the sister of Filipaina and since he was arrested for the murder of his father-in-law, his family has moved to Aufaga Lepa. That’s where his father is from.”

As for their involvement in Faleatiu, Lio said: “Their family was fined by the village and to date they have not paid that fine. That means, they are no longer involved in the village affairs, hence the difficulty of the village council to step in regarding the matter you had mentioned.”

According to Lio, Savusa hasn't been seen at Faleatiu since he was arrested many years ago.

So where is he? And why would someone run so desperately from the Police over a minor car crash, even though it involved a very high profile public figure in the form of Prime Minister Tuilaepa?

All we’re thinking of here is that in Samoa today, these people who are most wanted by the Police seem to have found a very good way to hiding from the authorities.

The name Pati Chong Nee immediately comes to mind.

He’s the notorious prison escapee who ran away from Tafa’igata Prison at the beginning of the year and he remains at large.

Which means that out there on the streets of Samoa today, two of the most dangerous criminals are hiding among members of the public, probably getting up to no good. We’ve got a murderer and a prolific thief running around freely without a care in the world.

Now that’s an extremely uncomfortable thought. Somebody has got to put an end to all this, find these men and put them back where they truly belong.

Besides, even Prime Minister Tuilaepa, who is also the Minister of Police, deserve justice for what Savusa did to him, just like everyone else.

What do you think?

Have a wonderful Wednesday Samoa!

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