Justice Ministry silent on Judges' termination

The Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration is yet to specify which Court decision resulted in the termination of the services of two Land and Titles Court Judges last month. 

In September this year the Acting Chief Justice and Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission (J.S.C.), His Honour Vui Clarence Nelson suspended Deputy L.T.C. President Sevealii Panapa Vee, Senior Judge, Lavea Siaosi Hazelman and Judge Nanai Pologa Ioane. 

He also appointed a committee "to look into allegations regarding a decision of the L.T.C.".

The following month, the Judicial Complaints Committee chaired by the former Attorney General, Taulapapa Brenda-Heather Latu investigated the allegations, and recommended that two of the Judges, Seveali’i and Nanai are terminated. 

Lavea was reinstated but only until December 23 this year. The J.S.C. will not consider another application from him, should he wishes to continue on the bench.

The members of the committee that delivered the ruling included Reverend Utufua Naseri and Fata Meafou.

In their statement issued on September 12 this year, the C.E.O. for the M.J.C.A. and the Secretary of the J.S.C., Moliei Simi Vaai, stated that a committee was appointed by the J.S.C. to look into allegations regarding a decision of the L.T.C. that involved the three L.T.C. Judges. 

But the Ministry is refusing to specify which L.T.C. matter led to the Judges' termination and what, if any, action the Court will take to rectify the court's decision is it was found to be wrong in law.

The Samoa Observer inquired with the C.E.O. on status of the “L.T.C. decision” in question, and questions sent sought clarification whether the decision in question will be voided and now be subject to a new hearing in the L.T.C.

On Friday, the C.E.O. asked this newspaper to resend her the initial press statement she issued citing a particular “L.T.C. decision”, questioning the reference in the statement about a decision. 

To date the Samoa Observer is yet to hear from the C.E.O. as to what action the Court has taken. 

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