P.M. reminds Govt. lawyers their oath

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has met with all the Government lawyers where he has reminded them about their "oath" as "loyal public servants to the Government."

The meeting between Tuilaepa and lawyers from the Attorney General's Office and the Samoa Law Reform Commission took place in Cabinet's meeting room and was reported on by the Government-owned Savali newspaper as a brainstorming session.

Under the headline "PM brainstorms with Government Attorney," the story said Tuilaepa reminded the lawyers about their "signed and sealed employment oath". 

“And with the same token, Prime Minister Tuilaepa reminded the attorneys that under no circumstance is government circumventing their rights as attorneys or individuals but should they feel their freedom and rights are compromised due to initiated government law reforms, and then they should do the most honourable thing."

The report does not clarify what Tuilaepa meant by the "most honourable thing." 

But it quotes him as saying: “That is your prerogative.”

Between the Office of the Samoa Law Reform Commission and the Attorney General, some 50 lawyers are employed.

"During the casual brainstorming, Prime Minister Tuilaepa encouraged the legal minds to take advantage of their experience as government attorneys by learning more about the law and constitution. 

"He says that the more knowledge the better equipped the attorney’s will be should they decide to pursue private practises in the future."

Two weeks ago, the Acting Attorney General refused to comment on allegations lawyers in her office had been warned against opposing the government reform which proposes the overhauling of the country’s legal system.

Galumalemana Noumea Loretta Teueli said the meeting and its contents were confidential. 

But several lawyers have told the Samoa Observer that their online activities are being monitored, and they have been asked not to oppose the bills, which are currently before a Parliamentary Committee. 

They said they have felt threatened from expressing their opinions on the bills. 

The three bills, which have variously drawn criticism from the nation’s judges and some corners of the legal fraternity, are the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020, Land and Titles Court Bill 2020 and the Judicature Bill 2020.

“Unfortunately we cannot comment [about the meeting] due to our confidentiality responsibilities,” Galumalemana said 

“In that regard we would like to note that whatever information that has been disclosed to you, was disclosed in breach of the confidentiality responsibility of your source (whoever that may be). “And to release it or to rely on it, would be continuing and contributing to that breach.”

The Samoa Observer reached out to Galumalemana on Wednesday for a comment on their meeting with the Prime Minister.

There was no responses as of press time.


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