La'auli relieved with decision not to appeal

Former Cabinet Minister, La'aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt, has confirmed that the Attorney General Office will not appeal a recent decision by the Supreme Court in his favour over a long standing nonu business dispute.

During an interview with the Samoa Observer, La'auli said his lawyers, Lefau Harry Schuster and Semi Leung-Wai, had informed him that the Attorney General's Office will not proceed with the plan to appeal the decision by Justice Vui Clarence Nelson.

La’auli was found not guilty of more than 100 charges of forgery, theft and obtained by deception, last month.

Last week, it emerged that the Government was planning to appeal the verdict.

Attempts to get a comment from the Attorney General's Office were unsuccessful.

But La'auli said was prepared for whatever eventuality. And now he has been informed there will be no appeal, the former Member of Parliament is relieved.

"I am grateful," he said. "We were told to be prepared as the A.G's office were getting ready to appeal the court case. 

"But yesterday (Tuesday), my lawyers informed us that they (A.G's office) will not proceed with the appeal. As I said before, we don't have any objection to what they were planning to do. 

"The only thing I asked for was for them to look at it careful, if it was something that was necessary to do. 

"My only concern was the cost. But I thank God, because the decision has shortened this matter. There are other important things we need to look into."

La'auli said he is appreciative of the decision made by the A.G's office. 

"We thank the Lord for the decision made by the new A.G. as she was part of those who carried out the assessment on the matter. 

"I thank them for the very well-researched decision they came up with. They make the final decision and we appreciate it."

According to La'auli, his only concern was the amount of money spent, if they push through with the appeal. 

"I was not concerned about the court case," said La'auli.  "This is because I always believed and respected the decision that was given, and that was the expectation I had from the beginning.  I was comforted right from the start because of all the investigation that was carried out. 

"When I was told that they were goin to appeal the case, my concern was, who will this fall on. Who will carry the burden? 

"The A.G's office and the Ministry of Police are both government agencies, representing the government. That was my biggest concern, it was the cost and how the country was dragged into a private matter."

The criminal charges stemmed from a longstanding dispute over Local Partners and Associates, a nonu company, between the accused and a senior Member of Parliament and Associate Minister of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Peseta Vaifou Tevaga.

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