Speaker declares La'auli no longer Member of Parliament

The Speaker of Parliament, Leaupepe Tole'afoa Fa'afisi, has declared that La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt is no longer a Member of Parliament.

“It is not me or the Prime Minister," Leaupepe said during an interview with the Samoa Observer. "He did this on his own when he resigned [in Parliament]."

The former Cabinet Minister and Gagaifomauga No. 3 M.P. declined to comment when he was contacted by the Samoa Observer on Wednesday afternoon. 

“I will hold a press conference and I will respond accordingly,” La’auli said. 

But the Speaker said La'auli has no choice but to submit his resignation. 

“I wrote to him to tender his resignation in writing, as indicated under the Constitution,” said the Speaker.  

“He [La’auli] decided his own fate when he resigned [in Parliament] even after I had appealed to him for to choose wisely. The Prime Minister also put through the motion and it was seconded in Parliament that [La’auli] must submit his resignation in writing."

Speaker Leaupepe said Parliamentary decisions are final.

La'auli exited Parliament last week after he verbally resigned. He walked out while the Assembly was deliberating on a report by the Privileges and Ethics Committee which found La'auli guilty of misleading Parliament.

The Committee had recommended for La'auli to be suspended for three months.

Parliament accepted the Committee's report but resolved to issue La'auli with a warning. After his verbal resignation, Prime Minister Tuilaepa moved a motion for the member to hand his written resignation to the Speaker.  

Last weekend, Gagaifomauga No. 3 told La'auli not to submit an official resignation letter to the Speaker. La'auli accepted the decision. 

So what happens next, no one seems to know.

“We will cross that bridge when we get to it," Speaker Leaupepe said. 

"I can’t make comments over something that has not happened.

But he added that the “verbal resignation" is sufficient as an official resignation. But since the Constitution demands a written resignation, La'auli must do this, he said. 

“Even his entitlements [have been seized] because he declared in Parliament his resignation,” said Leaupepe. 

Asked whether Laauli is no longer a Member of Parliament, the Speaker said: “Yes, that’s what it is in Parliament and there is the hansard that we can turn back to. It is not me or the Prime Minister, he did that on his own when he resigned."

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