Complaints led to Judges' sacking, P.M. reveals

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi has revealed that concerns from members of the public regarding decisions in Land and Titles Court matters led to the sacking of two Judges on the Court.

Tuilaepa has also applauded the decision made by the Judicial Complaints Committee that recommended that two L.T.C. Judges be sacked. 

Another recommendation from the Committee was to reinstate a third Judge but only until the 23 December 2019; any application from him later will not be reconsidered. 

The Prime Minister said it is important to have honest Judges on the bench. 

“There have been multiple cases that were appealed due to doubts over decisions delivered (by L.T.C.),” Tuilaepa told the media.

“An honest Judge will make the right decision regardless of his family connections. 

“So I take my hat off to the Committee that handled the investigation especially with the many written complaints addressed to me about the decisions from the Judges that are not truthful.” 

Tuilaepa said it is important for families that take their matters before the L.T.C. Court to reconcile it with their families first. 

He said a lot of family treasures that have been destroyed because of decisions from the Courts. 

The Prime Minister was also questioned about his letter to Judges of the Court, where he asked them to refrain from drinking alcohol together in public.

Tuilaepa's letter was addressed to the President of the Land and Titles Court, Fepulea'i Atilla Ropati and the Acting Chief Justice, Vui Clarence Nelson. In the letter, he said there have been drinking sessions that resulted in embarrassing incidents that have not been addressed by the Judges themselves. 

During his media programme, Prime Minister Tuilaepa said he wrote to the Judges as a "father of the nation."

In response to Tuilaepa's letter, Justice Vui criticised the Samoa Observer's decision to publish the letter.

He also defended the Judges, saying the majority of them do not consume alcohol. 

Asked for a comment on Justice Vui's letter, Tuilaepa described the Acting Chief Justice as a comedian who made some jokes. 

He said he finds it was funny how his letter to the Judges had led to Justice Vui writing to the Editor of the Samoa Observer, Mataafa Keni Lesa.

“So [these men] Mata'afa and Vui are my children,” said Tuilaepa. 

“And this is like a situation where my children are pulling hair…” 

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