King Faipopo arrested over alleged P.M. assassination plot
Malele Atofu Paulo - also known as King Faipopo - was arrested by Police on Thursday in connection to an alleged plot to assassinate the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr., Sailele Malielegaoi.
Police arrested Paulo at the Court House at Mulinuu. The warrant was executed by more than ten Police officers – some in surveillance uniform - at around 11.15am, before he was taken to Police Headquarters.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer before his arrest, Paulo denied any involvement in an alleged plot to assassinate the Prime Minister.
“I got nothing to do with it,” he said.
“It brings sadness to my heart because the world thinks that I am that kind of person but I am not.”
Investigations into the alleged plot - first revealed by the Samoa Observer this week - were ongoing on Thursday night.
The Mayor of Lauli’i said that the village council was continuing to search for a gun that may be connected to the alleged plot.
Investigations were prompted earlier this week when the authorities were alerted to allegations by the village council of Lauli’i.
Paulo said he is sad to be treated as a suspect in the investigation when he is trying to make peace with the Prime Minister in the matter before the District Court.
“I am just exercising my human rights and expressing my opinion,” he added.
Paulo's arrest this morning came shortly before an application to vacate his plea in a case in the District Court in which he is facing a charge of criminal libel brought by the Prime Minister as a complainant.
Paulo’s arrest follows a police search at one of the Samoa First Party candidate’s, Lema’i Faioso Siome home on Wednesday night.
Lema’i was taken in custody by Police on that night.
The lawyer for Lema’i and Paulo, Unasa Iuni Sapolu (who is also the leader of the Samoa First Party) told the media the search warrant for Lema’is home was for alleged conspiracy to plan the assassination of the Prime Minister.
She questioned the evidence used by Police that warranted Lema'i being detained last night.
“Let’s see what evidence they have,” said Unasa.
“They came looking for King Faipopo (Wednesday) at Apaula height but he has been abiding by his bail conditions.”
The lawyer suspected that the men are being targeted by Police for the alleged plot.
She maintained that unless there are evidences to prove otherwise the men are innocent.
The investigation into the alleged plot to assassinate the Prime Minister began earlier this week when authority was alerted of allegations by the village council of Lauli’i.
The Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil, on Tuesday confirmed there is an ongoing investigation into the matter.
He declined to comment further.
Two people were detained by Police on Monday in relation to the investigation.
The investigation into the alleged plot to assassinate the Prime Minister began earlier this week when the authorities were alerted of allegations by the village council of Lauli’i.
Lauli’i village mayor, Faalogo Sasauli Moli said the village has taken precautionary actions and is cooperating with Police investigation.
One of the suspects in the investigation is married to a woman from the village of Lauli’i.