“Liars, crooks,” P.M. counters “dirty politics” allegation

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has rejected allegations of “dirty politics” being levelled against his administration over the Government’s decision to stop a free wifi project for schools in Savai’i.

The allegation was made by the leader of the Fa’atuatua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party, La’auli Leuatea Schmidt, during a press conference earlier this week.

The former Speaker of Parliament said F.A.S.T. has sought a legal opinion on their next step, warning that this could end up in Court.

But the Prime Minister laughed at La’auli’s claims on Wednesday during his weekly programme on TV3, saying the country does not need “liars” and leaders who are “crooks.” 

He also used the Samoan word “pi’opi’o” which could be interpreted as “corrupt.”

 “If there is any dirty politics in here, it is them who are playing dirty politics,” Tuilaepa responded. “I hope their constituencies will look at these people they are bringing in because they are such prolific liars.”

Tuilaepa made reference to La’auli and two other F.A.S.T. candidates, Olo Fiti Vaai and Faumuina Wayne Fong. With regards to the wifi project that has since been stopped, the Prime Minister reminded that there are processes for such projects to follow.

“They cannot just take the back roads without going through the proper channels,” he said.

“The correct channel is that they have to communicate with the Office of the Regulator because there are conditions that should be put in place to protect our children from being exposed to bad things on these networks.”

 “We don’t want our children to see any bad pictures pop up through this.”

Tuilaepa claimed that “only leaders who don’t have children, or leaders who have children but do not care about protecting them from being exposed to these bad pictures” would not understand the Government’s concerns.

He reminded that the project needed a license but he claimed that given the people involved, he was not surprised that “these people don’t care about licenses.”

“They went and did a nonu business,” Tuilaepa claimed. “One of them was charged and penalised because they did business and avoided paying the licensing fees to the government. This is crooked, crooked things.

“It’s no different from when they brought in a generator and they put down that it was a refrigerator so they paid the duty for refrigerator instead of paying the duty for the machine that generates electricity.”

Contacted for a comment on Wednesday night, La’auli said the Prime Minister could whatever he wants.

“It's okay,” Laauli said. “We are moving to the Court to reveal the truth of who owns the free wifi Project.”

Laauli insisted that the Government shouldn’t interfere and stop the project.

“In Court, Samoa will see who is crooked.”

Asked about the legal threat from F.A.S.T., Tuilaepa said: “Do it. It’s an ear sore when they keep threatening. Just go ahead and do it. Let it happen.”

Tuilaepa reiterated that country needs Members of Parliament who are honest.

“We need people who don’t lie.”





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