Plot to assassinate the P.M. uncovered

A man is under investigation for allegedly plotting to assassinate the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi

Details of the plot are shrouded in secrecy but the investigation was confirmed by Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil, when contacted by the Samoa Observer on Tuesday. 

He declined to give further details except to say that the investigation is ongoing. 

But this newspaper understands that two people have been detained by police for questioning in connection to the ongoing investigation. Late yesterday it remained unclear whether the two remained in custody and what their role in the alleged plot was. 

The man suspected of masterminding the alleged plot has also been investigated by the village in which he resides. The man is married to a woman from Laulii where he currently resides.  

The village mayor, Faalogo Sasauli Moli, said a meeting was called on Monday this week when the Council was alerted about the matter. 

Faalogo was reluctant to comment but could only confirm that the village has taken precautionary actions and is cooperating with Police investigation. 

He added that the allegation is serious and is bringing shame to the village.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi is currently in Funafuti, Tuvalu attending the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Summit.

Samoa's only political assassination was in 1999 where former Cabinet Minister, the late Luagalau Levaula Kamu, was shot at point blank range during the 20th anniversary of the Human Rights Protection Party at St Joseph's College hall, Alafua.

Tuilaepa revealed in the launching of his memoir, Pālemia, in 2017 that he was the intended target of the assassination plot 20 years ago. 

When asked by his co-author, Peter Swain, if he was afraid of being targeted, Tuilaepa said that his life may have been at risk said that from time to time his personal security had been threatened by ‘nutters’. 

But the Prime Minister said he was convinced that his destiny was already written. 

Two Cabinet Ministers at the time of the startling event were given life sentence for plotting the murder of Luagalau. 

The son of one of the ministers, Alatise Leafa Vitale, was sentenced to death for pulling the trigger. 

In April 2000 Leafa Vitale and To’I Aukuso were convicted of murder and received the mandatory sentence of death by hanging. 

Their sentences were commuted by the Head of State at the time to life imprisonment. 

To’i died while serving his prison sentence and Leafa was paroled in 2010 for health reasons together with his son Alatise Leafa Vitale later that year. 

On 6 August 2010 Leafa was pardoned along with other prisoners in an amnesty to celebrate Samoa’s 50th anniversary of Independence. 

Earlier last month, political assassin Alatise was recalled by the Parole Board to serve his life imprisonment term after breaching parole conditions.  

Those conditions include associating with ex-convicts, drinking in public and not informing parole office that he had travelled to Apia.

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