Cabinet extends A.G's contract
Cabinet has extended the contract for Attorney General, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, while the process of advertising the position is underway.
Lemalu confirmed this during an interview with the Samoa Observer. His contract had officially expired two months ago.
“It expired officially in April but Cabinet has extended it until further notice while they go through the advertising application processes,” Lemalu told the Samoa Observer.
“That is why I am still in the position until the application process completes.”
Part of the reason for Lemalu's contract extension is to continue the workload faced by the office including prosecuting the next group of 20 Congregational Christian Church of Samoa Ministers being charged with tax offences.
Asked if he will reapply for the position, Lemalu said the advertisement has not been advertised yet.
In April 2016, Lemalu returned to Samoa from New Zealand to take up the position of Attorney General following his appointment from Cabinet.
He was a senior solicitor with the Public Defence Service within the New Zealand Ministry of Justice rounding up 11 years of litigation practice overseas.
A former lecturer at the National University of Samoa in Commercial Law from 2001–2004, Lemalu had worked as a Crown Prosecutor with Meredith Connell/Crown Law for four years.
He had previously served two terms as the President of the Pacific Lawyers Association.
The following is the statement issued by Cabinet about Lemalu's reappointment:
Attorney General Lemalu Herman Retzlaff’s three year contract has been extended by a Cabinet Directive, pending all PSC application processes, in order for Lemalu and his office in the meantime, to continue the heavy work-loads currently facing them.
The directive was actioned, as the Honorable Prime Minister, confirmed today, the instructions for the AG’s Office to undertake yet another matter, that being the prosecution of Church Ministers who have publicly expressed their unwillingness to be subject to income taxation.
Confirmed Lemalu, “I would imagine that the normal application processes have or will commence soon, but in the meantime, it remains an honor to serve with the team members of the office, and with the support of family and friends.”
In a recent speech to Parliament, the Honorable Prime Minster re-iterated the importance of the rule of law, and the role of independent legal officers such as the AG, Ombudsman, Auditor General, and the Ministry of Police, must be respected by all branches of Government.
Such extensions are not unusual and are followed by the normal application processes.