La'auli rubbishes P.M's business claim
Former Speaker and senior Member of Parliament, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao, has fired back at the Prime Minister for singling him out of being involved with businesses.
La’auli, who is facing criminal charges over a nonu company that he is involved with, says he is not the only member in the Legislative Assembly that has business affiliations.
Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi had recently said that he had asked the former Cabinet Minister to resign from his portfolio because of his business involvement.
But La’auli, who went on the TV3 Manuo programme last Friday, said he made the decision to step down from his Ministerial portfolio because he wanted to uphold the integrity of the position.
The M.P. for Gagaifomauga no3, who recently exited the Human Rights Protection Party, said the Legislative Assembly is littered with Ministers and Associate Ministers who run businesses.
He added that the reason why he left the H.R.P.P. is because he no longer trusts the leadership of the political party.
“He talks about my businesses and accuses me of this but his Associate Minister and [most of] Cabinet Ministers all have businesses,” La’auli said during TV3 Manuo programme.
“The difference between my businesses with the Cabinet Ministers and Associate Ministers is that they benefit from Government contracts and that is a big conflict of interest.
“My businesses; the petrol station and shops is to serve the country and my constituency. There is not one penny from Government [through contracts] I have touched.”
La’auli pointed to multimillion tala Government projects like the Tiavea airport and Tanumalala prison that he claims Cabinet Ministers and Associate Ministers have interests in.
“He talks about me but what about his Associate Minister,” he said about the Prime Minister.
“In this career [politician] you cannot survive without having businesses to support your constituency and that is what are businesses are for.
“To serve my constituency when they come from Savai’i and the people of Samoa.”
Furthermore, La’auli said that his parents were business people and it was their legacy that to date the family's business has continued.
Speaking about his affiliation with the nonu company that the Prime Minister spoke about, La’auli made it clear that his shares in the company had long been allocated to his representative.
He said this is proof that he values his parliamentary oath that one has to surrender all shareholders and business affiliation once they enter the Legislative Assembly.
An email was sent to Press Secretary, Nanai Lave Tuiletufuga for a comment from Tuilaepa.
There was no response by press time.