Call for criminal probe into Judges
A Member of Parliament has called on the Ministry of Justice Courts and Administration to initiate a criminal investigation into two Land and Titles Court (L.T.C.) Judges who were sacked last year.
Two L.T.C. Judges were sacked last year following an investigation by the Judicial Complaints Committee into "allegations regarding a decision" by the court.
The M.P. for Falealili East, Fuimaono Teo Samuelu said in Parliament on Tuesday:
“I believe that if they were dishonest in carrying out their duties and the oath, they should be [criminally] charged.
“They have tampered with family treasures as a result of their court decision."
The Ministry has not made clear on what basis the Judicial Services Commission (J.S.C.) decided to sack the Judges, but it has been revealed that concerns from members of the public regarding certain decisions spurred the investigation.
“While I’m thankful that [L.T.C.] Judges were sacked but it’s unclear whether they should be charged or not,” said Fuimaono.
The Judges in question are the Deputy President of the Land and Titles Court, Seveali’i Panapa Vee and Judge Nanai Pologa Ioane. It was not possible to get comments from the former Judges.
The Chief Executive Officer for the M.J.C.A. Moliei Simi Vaai who also serves as the Secretary of the J.S.C. said the decision in question will be reheard in the L.T.C.
“At the moment the J.S.C. cannot make a decision [on the former judges] as this matter is before the Court," she said.
“The case is will be reheard in court over the decision in question and therefore the J.S.C. cannot make a ruling.
“We have to wait, until the case is finished, but for the time being there is nothing we can do".
Chaired by the former Attorney General, Taulapapa Brenda-Heather Latu, members of the Judicial Complaints Committee included Reverend Utufua Naseri and Fata Meafou.