Lawsuit against matai over banishment referred to mediation

A lawsuit against four senior matai of Fogapoa village, over the banishment of a Samoa First Political Party candidate after contesting the Fa’asaleleaga No. 2 by-election, has been referred to mediation. 

The lawsuit was filed by the unsuccessful candidate in the by-election, Lema’i Faioso Sione, and Samoa First Political Party. 

The matter was called in civil mention on 1 July 2019. 

Lawyer and Samoa First leader, Unasa Iuni Sapolu, confirmed that the matter has been referred to mediation. 

The senior matai who are alleged to have made the decision to banish Lema’i includes Namulauulu Suaesi Suaesi, Namulauulu Ape Pou, Lema’i Fau and Su Pa’i. 

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Unasa said they feel strongly about the case.

She said the decision to banish her client is a violation of the political party’s candidate’s rights under the Constitution. 

“The settlement has to reflect the violation of his rights,” she added. 

She did not say how much the parties are seeking for a settlement. 

It was not possible to get a comment from Matafeo George Latu who is the lawyer for the Fogapoa matai. 

In April this year, Lema’i was banished by the village council for allegedly disobeying a village decision to support Human Rights Protection Party winning candidate Namulauulu Sami Leota. 

At the time Unasa maintained that Lema’is Constitutional rights were violated and his freedom to represent whichever political party he desires.  

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