Public Trust appeals land transfer decision

The Public Trust Office is asking the Court of Appeal to overturn a decision concerning the transfer of eight acres of land in Vailima to Filipo and Elisapeta Silao.

The matter was before the Court of Appeal on Wednesday.

The appeal was made by Public Trust in response to a 2018 Court ruling from Supreme Court Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren.

Justice Tafaoimalo ordered the Public Trust Office to transfer the land.

The 2018 ruling is the second Court decision issued by the Supreme Court in relation to this particular parcel of land in Vailima.

The first ruling is dated 27 May 2010. It was delivered by former Chief Justice, Patu Tiava'asu'e Falefatu Sapolu.

The Public Trust Office took the Silao family to Court acting as administrators of the estates of Ana Maria Brown and Agnes Saua Tuala, who are deceased. The Silaos were living on the land and the Public Trust Office wanted them removed.

The Silaos filed a counter-claim and the Court ruled in favour of the Silaos.

The 2010 decision dismissed the claim by the plaintiff for an order to remove the defendants from the disputed land.

Further, it granted the "counter-claim" by the defendants for possessory title by way of adverse possession to the disputed land.

“The plaintiff is ordered to convey the disputed land to the defendants within 30 days,” the decision states.

Despite the 2010 and 2018 Court orders for the land to be transferred to the Silao parties, it still hasn’t been transferred.

 To date, there have been no contempt of Court proceedings. 

The Public Trust Office does not want to transfer the land until estate costs incurred are paid by the Silao family.

They are represented by lawyer, Fepulea’i Patrick Fepulea’i.

The Court of Appeal has reserved its decision.

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