Court rules on Le Mauti'eti'e land ownership
The Lands and Titles Court has delivered its decision over a dispute in Afega, reaffirming a 1915 decision that the Le Mauti'eti'e parcel of land belongs to the Gatoaitele Savea Leulua’iali’i family.
The ownership of the land, which is the current location of Sagaga College, was the subject of the Lands and Titles Court hearing.
In 2015, family members of Gatoaitele Savea Leulua’iali’i moved to stop the construction of Sagaga College on Le Mati’eti’e, claiming that the land belonged to them.
The proceedings lasted five years in the L.T.C.
The nine page ruling says the L.T.C. ordered the re-surveying of the land in question.
Soloi Survey Services carried out this order on 22 March 2017.
On 29th May 2018, the Office of the Registrar was ordered to provide a copy of the survey to all the parties involved in this case for their comments.
In September 2018, the respondents sought a postponement to await the report by the Land Link Services that was contracted by the village of Afega.
The Court ruling says the report was received on 4 April 2018 and the matter was scheduled for 19 February 2019; however, there was a request for a postponement from a respondent.
“This matter was postponed while the [surveys] were given to the Government’s surveyors for their review, as the two reports already submitted have huge differences,” the ruling said.
The report [from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment] was received in July 2019; however, efforts to get a meeting for all of the parties were not successful as some were overseas.
The L.T.C.’s ruling noted that most of the respondents in the case found out for the first time about a prior map (LK385) and ruling dating back to 1915 that had settled the ownership of the land in question.
“The Court considered that most of the respondents were born 30 to 40 years after the LK385 ruling and mapping was delivered,” the ruling said. “It has also been confirmed this ruling [LK385] by Judge Fepulea’i Ameperosa is valid back in 2015. At this time, this ruling remains legally binding and it is still valid.”
The L.T.C. ruled that the survey conducted by Soloi Survey Services corresponds with the mapping and survey issued in court case LK385 on 27 April, 1915.
The Court ruled that land on which the Sagaga College is built on is called Le Mauti’eti’e in accordance with the LK385 case from 1915.
The court ruled for the owner of the land not to remove the school already built on the land.
It also ruled that the owners of the land need to be asked for their consent before any other developments are built on the land.
Last year, Maulolo Tavita and Matua Toalua, of Afega, were summoned for contempt of Court.
The summons were in connection to an interim injunction order issued by the Acting President of the Lands and Titles Court, Fepulea’i Ameperosa Roma. Dated 24 June 2019, the Court ordered Maulolo Tavita and Matua Toalua to stop the construction of a school hall on Le Mauti’eti’e. There were four groups of claimants in this case, including:
- Va’afa’i Leatuafi Fata Fa’amanatu, Va’afa’i Vaitimu, Ne’emia Maulolo, Maulolo Fata, Misipati Mose and Fiapapalagi Va’afa’i.
- Tafa’ifa Maria Vaotu’ua Pouvi, Leiataua Soava’a Pouvi, Marieta Farani Pouvi, Jacinta Nora Pouvi, Janice Luteru Vaotu’ua.
- Saena Tialino Penaia and Leulua’iali’i Tasi Malifa Ututa’aloga Lolo.
- Ulufale Seuseu Fata Pito, Fata Pemane, Fata Talalelei, Fata Poutu and Fata Simone.
There were eight groups of respondents, including:
- Vaitimu Galuafi Aumua, Vaitimu Aleasana, Vaitimu Levika Tema, Maposua Milo and Simealai Vaitimu.
- Fata Saifoloi, Fata Pisao, Fata Pisaga, Fata Alani Sinia.
- Samuelu Pologa Fetaoa’i Tema, Toelei’u Pologa Fetaoa’i Tema, Vai Pologa Fetaoa’i Tema, Vai Pologa Fetaoa’i Tema.
- Toso Manuaifua Alapati Savea, Leu Talivai, Happy Ken, Michael Ah Chong and Auimatagi Sa’uleone Collins.
- Fata Fa’afuata, Vaotu’ua Tipasa, Matua Toalua, Maposua Rudolf Keil, Leu Vaetolu, Siliao Faitele, Fa’alava Tautua, Setali Sa, Va’afa’i Tolutasi, Fata Roketi, Fata Enoka, Va’afa’i Seleni, Fata Nofoa and Taliaoa Toetu.
- Fata Vaotu’ua Siu Amosa, Fata Saufo’i, Vaotu’ua Faoato, Vaotu’ua Pologa and Simeamativa Fata Saifoloi.
- Vaotu’ua Alefosio Va’afa’i Maulolo, Malama Ah Chong, Singular Kuka and Alefosio Kuka.
- Ututa’aloga Charlie Ulia, Maulolo Tavita, Vaotu’ua Talamai’iai Ulia and Leu Ken Ulia.
Ua fa’amaonia o le fanua o lo’o fausia ai le Falea’oga fa’aitumalo I Afega o Lemauti’eti’e long igoa e pei on fa’alia ile Sketch Plan o le LK 385 aso 27/04/1915
O e e pulea lenei fanua o lo’o ta’ua ile fa’aiuga ole LK 385 I lona fiauupu (2). Ole fasi fanua ole Mautietie sa fa’ato’aina e le itu na tagi, e pei ona fa’aalia ile Fa’afanua A, o le a pule ai e na tagi. A o le ele’ele o totoe o le Mautietie ole a pule ai e na tete’e. O e na tagi o Letunu, Va’afai, Tema ma Fa’alava ae o e na tete’e o Leulua’i, Paogo ma Fata Fa’atali.
E tumau pea le faleaoga e pei ona ua ma’ea lona fausiaina.
Ua poloaiina le logoina o I latou e pule ile fanua mo so latou ioega mo nisi atina’e I luga o lenei fanua.
O le totogi ole Faamasinoga e toesea mai tupe na faaulu ai Talosaga.