Attorney General provides legal advice on Australian investor
Attorney General, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, has provided legal advice to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (M.C.I.T.) with regards to Australian businessman, Graham Liao and PEEQ Telecommunications.
Mr. Liao opened Samoa’s first Call Centre in July only to have it abruptly closed following queries from the Attorney General.
“I have issued my full advice to M.C.I.T. re the proposed sub-lease to PEEQ with recommendations,” Lemalu told the Samoa Observer.
Lemalu declined to reveal the details, saying “they will take steps as a Ministry having received it.”
In response to questions from the Samoa Observer, the Minister of M.C.I.T., Afamasaga Rico Tupai, confirmed that one of the recommendations from the A.G. involves the proposed lease for the company at Vaivase.
“M.C.I.T. will follow the recommendation by the A.G. not to issue PEEQ with a lease,” Afamasaga said.
The Minister also declined to divulge the details of the recommendations from the Attorney General.
“Unfortunately I can’t share its content as it is for me only,” he said.
The Minister did not respond to follow up questions about the lease and whether PEEQ has permanently ceased its operations in Samoa.
About the current space that PEEQ is leasing at Vaivase, Afamasaga said they have several proposals to consider for the use of the space. He added that a Committee will evaluate and consider the proposals before a decision is made.
Furthermore, the Minister confirmed that PEEQ Director, Mr. Liao, has not been in touch.
Attempts by the Samoa Observer to contact Mr. Liao during the past few months have been unsuccessful.
In August, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi briefly spoke about the matter, saying that it was PEEQ’s lease application that required clearance of criminal records from the Attorney General’s Office.
Tuilaepa then urged government officials not to be negligent in their responsibility to perform due diligence on foreign investors wishing to do business in Samoa.
“It might come out as a joke but it stresses that government officials shouldn’t be negligent but go out to investigate countries (where the investors are from) and check with bank institutions if they (investors) have any money," he said.