Govt. removes Olo from Parliament's Finance Committee

Salega Member of Parliament, Olo Fiti Vaai, has been removed from Parliament's Finance and Expenditure Committee.

The announcement was made in Parliament on Tuesday by the Deputy Speaker, Nafoitoa Talaimanu Keti, who moved a motion to reorganise the membership of the Parliamentary Committee. 

Asked for a comment, Olo said the decision does not surprise him. 

“I am certain it has to do with the issues that I raised in Parliament pertaining to the finances of the Samoan government," said Olo during a brief interview with the Samoa Observer outside of Parliament.

“I understand the Parliament Standing Orders concerning information that are confidential to which I have followed but once it is tabled in the Committee it is public information and I think that is the main reason I have been replaced."

The new members for the Finance and Expenditure Committee are Namulauulu Sami Leota and Ili Setefano Ta'ateo. 

The Chairperson is Allimalemanu Alofa Tuuau, Faumuina Tiatia Faaolatane Liuga as Deputy Chairperson and Toomata Aki Tuipea  a member. 

During Parliament, Olo Fiti put it to the Speaker that the newly appointed member from Faasaleleaga No. 2, Namulauulu, should not be a member of the Parliamentary Committee, given that he hasn’t been sworn into office yet as indicated under Standing Orders. 

But Speaker Leaupepe Toleafoa Faafisi, in response, said Namulauulu had already been sworn in by the Head of State. 

“The absence of the respective member is that he’s attending a very important meeting in Fiji,” he said. 

Olo is now a member of the Parliament Social Sector Committee. 

This Committee is chaired by Gatoloaifaana Amataga Alesana-Gidlow with Leaana Ronnie Posini as Deputy Chair. The committee members are Sulamanaia Fetaiai Tauiliili Tuivasa and Aumua Isaia Lameko. 

Attempts by this newspaper to get comments from the Deputy Speaker were unsuccessful at the time of going to press.

According to Olo, his replacement is an Independent Member of Parliament and “there are no hard feelings there." 

“I am glad my replacement is someone from the Opposition, a former one that is. But this is the political arena, these things are to be expected. Again, I know my removal has to do with the issues I raised, but it has to be said (that) I followed the laws of Parliament when I was a member of the Finance Committee."

As part of the Finance Committee, Olo was part of hearings where they questioned the Ministries on their finances. 

Last year, Olo was vocal on the failure by the Government to fill key positions within the bureaucracy. 

Changes were also announced for the Economic Sector Committee. It is chaired by Lauofo Pierre Lauofo with Faalogo Iosefa Sopi the deputy chair. Committee members include Laauli Polataivao Leuatea, Toleafoa Ken Vaafusuaga Poutoa and Ili Setefano Taateo Tafili. 

The Infrastructure Sector Committee is chaired by Tafua Malueluea Tafua with Olo Fiti Afoa Vaai as deputy chair. Committee members include Faaulusau Rosa Duffy-Stowers, Faumuina Wayne Fong and Tapulesatele Mauteni Tamasone Metuli II Esera.

The Standing Orders, Electoral, Petition & Constitutional Offices Committee has Nafoitoa as chair and Fuimaono Samuelu Teo deputy chair. Committee members are Aeau Peniamina Leavaiseeta, Nonu Lose Niumata and Afoa Amituanai Faleulu Mauli. 

There is also a Parliamentary Commission chaired by Speaker of the House, Leaupepe Toleafoa Faafisi. Deputy Speaker Nafoitoa Talaimanu Keti deputy chair with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi and Aeau Peniamina Leavaiseeta as members. 

Also in Parliament on Tuesday, 21 Papers were presented in addition to 29 Parliamentary Committee reports. Eight reports were from the Standing Orders, Electoral, Petitions and Constitutional Office, 10 reports from the Finance & Expenditure Committee, five reports from the Social Sector Committee, two reports from the Economic Sector Committee and four reports from the Infrastructure Sector Committee.

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