Director could be disqualified by prison sentence

Any board director convicted of an offence and receiving a custodial sentence of two years or more will be immediately disqualified, the Ministry of Public Enterprises C.E.O. has clarified. 

The Ministry's C.E.O. Elita Tooala clarified the rules in response to a recent case of a Director pleading guilty to causing injury in a case in which the victim was one of the Managers of the Legislative Assembly (L.A.). 

Samoa Housing Corporation (S.H.C.) Director, Sosefina Talauta, Tualaulelei appeared before the District Court last month with another co-defendant for the alleged assault on the L.A. staff.

The women have pleaded guilty to the charges before them and await sentencing this month. 

Mrs. Tualaulelei actions could cost her her appointment as a Director, should the Court convict her and give her an imprisonment term of two years or more. 

According to the Crimes Act 2013, a person who commits the offence of causing injury is liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding seven years who, with intent to cause actual bodily harm, causes actual bodily harm to another person. 

The law also states that a person is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years if they cause actual bodily harm to another person by assaulting that other person. 

In response to queries from the Samoa Observer, Ms. Tooala said a Director can be disqualified if they are convicted and given an imprisonment term of two years or more. 

“The basis for the selection and procedures for the appointment of Directors as well as their removal is outlined in Schedule 3, Public Bodies (Performance & Accountability) Act 2001,” pointed Ms. Tooala.

“It is these provisions that guide the Independent Selection Committee (I.S.C.).

“One of these provisions deals specifically with those who are ‘disqualified’ to be appointed as directors. 

“Section 3.1.1(b)(v) states that anyone who is convicted in Samoa or elsewhere of an offence punishable by death or by imprisonment for a term of 2 years or more cannot be appointed.”

Furthermore, Ms. Tooala said in the same light a current director who is found guilty and given a sentence as described during their term as a director can be removed.

“Should Ms Talauta Tualaulelei sentencing be equivalent in severity to that described in Section 3.1.1 of Schedule 3, then Cabinet will be informed and a decision will be made regarding her appointment.”

The C.E.O. said as soon as the office receives notice of the sentencing for the Director the responsible Minister and Cabinet will be informed. 

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