Recruitment of new Justice C.E.O. underway

The process to recruit a new Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration (M.J.C.A.) is currently underway.

This was confirmed by Public Service Commissioner, Lauano Vaosa Epa, in response to an email from the Samoa Observer querying the status of the recruitment. 

“At the completion of the interviews, the selection panel will deliberate and prepare an interview report to the Cabinet,” said Lauano. 

“The Cabinet will then conduct their deliberations and make a final decision on the appointment with all information available to them and convey this accordingly in a Cabinet Directive otherwise referred to as a Faaiuga a le Kapeneta.”

The Commissioner did not say how many applicants are being considered and when the interviewing process will be completed. 

But a Ministry official, who is not in a position to speak to the media, told this newspaper that there are seven applicants for the top job.

Three of the applicants work for the Ministry while four are non-employees, the official added. 

The position was previously held by the former C.E.O. Papali’i John Taimalelagi. 

Papali’I had his service of employment terminated by Cabinet in April this year, acting on the recommendations of the P.S.C. 

This follows a P.S.C. investigation in August last year into Papali’I’s conduct and the handling of Court files which were delivered to the Minister of Justice’s office in 2016. 

When Papali’i had his contract terminated, he made a plea to the P.S.C. and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi in a letter, for the Government to reconsider its decision. 

He claimed he was forced to admit to the charges while under pressure by the Minister of Justice, Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainu’u and P.S.C. member, Auelua Samuelu Enari. 

Such allegations were later denied by Auelua while Fa’aolesa questioned its timing and his motive from Papali’i.

In response to Papali’i’s letters, the P.S.C. Chairman, Aiono Mose Su’a rejected the request to reinstate the former C.E.O. 

Aiono reiterated that the final decision on whether to make admissions to the P.S.C. charges was ultimately made by Papali’i – not anyone else. 

The P.S.C. Chairman said the overall review of the evidence, when it was evaluated independently of his admissions, was that it was overwhelming and supported by several witnesses. 

“Finally your admissions, removed any need for the extensive evidence to be canvassed, including for example, recordings of a conversation that you did have with one of the complainants.

“I would respectfully suggest that you take into account the matters outlined above in deciding on the course of actions you may wish to take.”

At the time Prime Minister Tuilaepa had also urged Papali’I to accept the decision and move on.

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