M.P. Olo was just "transferred", not removed — P.M. Tuilaepa
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi has rubbished claims M.P. Olo Fiti Vaai was removed from the Parliamentary Finance Committee.
He said the Salega Member of Parliament was just "transferred" to the Parliament Social Sector Committee from the Parliamentary Finance Committee and he was not removed.
“I have to correct that allegation. He hasn’t been removed he’s been transferred to another committee,” he said.
The Prime Minister explained that the addition of the new member of Fa'asaleleaga, Namulau'ulu Sami Leota, to the Parliamentary Finance Committee led to the reshuffle of the committee.
“We have to use his ability and his vast knowledge for Parliament work hence the necessary changes to committee members. There are many other committees that were reshuffled and Olo has been allocated to another committee.
“But this is his nature. Every time there is an issue, he always draws the attention to him so people can feel sorry for him. But we do what has to be done, which is to reshuffle committees.”
Tuilaepa said all Committee members play a major role in the work of the Parliament, and went on to accuse the MP of using information that was privy to the committee "for the wrong reasons".
“I found out, he publicly announced his removal is a result of his actions in the past, where he used the (committee's) information for the wrong reasons and yet no one accused him of that. The admission is an indication that he’s guilty."
However Olo, wouldn’t have it. “I followed the standing orders of Parliament and I raise issues within Parliament, once it is tabled the matter is public info.
“The Prime Minister needs to bring forth evidence that I leaked out information. He can’t just pass allegations without any substantial evidence,” said the Salega M.P.
The Prime Minister said Parliamentary Standing Orders that govern the Committees and its mandates in Parliament hearings are strictly confidential.
“Any Parliament Committee member has to review reports and question witnesses and then they submit their written recommendations in Parliament for final decision.”
According to Tuilaepa, when a Government witness is being questioned before the Committee, they respond freely with the understanding that the information relayed is confidential.
“Under the Standing Orders, Members of Parliament cannot divulge any information that is elaborated within Committee hearings, it is confidential.”
The Prime Minister expressed concern that Government witnesses might not testify freely, knowing the complaints about the Minister or the Associate Minister will be leaked to the public.
“If this happens, the witnesses will not tell the truth knowing there is a Judas the betrayer in the Committee hearings.”
The Prime Minister said it is vital for Government witnesses to inform Parliament of any wrongdoing by the Minister, Member of Parliament and Associate Minister. However, it is hard to do that knowing that someone in the Committee will turn around and report the witnesses.
“Members should not be gossipers. Information is strictly confidential as indicated by the standing orders.”
According to Olo, the submission by the Prime Minister that chief executive officers will be reluctant to report on their Ministers is the wrong move.
“He’s literally telling the chief executive officers not to reveal anything before the Committees. Also there shouldn’t be any confidentiality clause in Parliament; this is where everything should be reported about the other arms of government,” he added.