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Former A.G. chairs Committee to investigate suspended Judges

Former Attorney General, Taulapapa Brenda-Heather Latu, will chair a Judicial Complaints Committee to investigate allegations made against suspended Judges of the Lands and Titles Court.

The appointment was made by the Judicial Service Commission (J.S.C.) and was confirmed by the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration Chief Executive Officer,  Moliei Vaai, in response to questions from the Samoa Observer. 

The Committee members include Reverend Utufua Naseri and Fata Meafou.  

“A non-voting administrative member is nominated by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration to support the J.C.C.,” said Ms Vaai.

The terms of reference was not included in the statement, despite queries to outline the T.O.R. given to the Judicial Complaint Committee members.

“Pursuant to the decision of the Judicial Service Commission, a Judicial Complaint Committee is appointed to inquire into, review and investigate the complaints received by the President of the Lands and Titles Court and the Acting Chief Justice against the suspended judges namely Deputy President Sevealii Panapa Vee, Senior Judge Lavea Siaosi Hazelman and Judge Nanai Pologa Ioane.” 

Repeated attempts by the Samoa Observer to get comments from the suspended Judges have been unsuccessful. 

The suspension of the Judges by the Acting Chief Justice, Vui Clarence Nelson who is also the Chairman of the J.S.C. became effective on September 9, 2019. 

Taulapapa also chaired previous inquiries including one that investigated the Ministry of Health's proposed merger last year. 

The Judges are placed on suspension with pay. 

It is unclear whether a cap on the investigation was formalized by the J.S.C to the Judicial Complaint Committee as follow up emails were not responded to at the time of going to press.  

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