P.M.’s obsession with O.L.P.

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 19 June 2018, 12:00AM

Prime Minister Tuilaepa’s obsession with O.L.P. hit a new level last week when he reportedly named two members of the public as people behind the infamous blog. 

He apparently coughed up the names during his weekly programme with Talamua Media, which immediately posted a story on its website.

Given the heightened interest the Government-driven manhunt for O.L.P. has generated – thanks largely to Prime Minister Tuilaepa’s continuing obsession about the blog and the blogger/s identity – the story naturally drew a lot of clicks and attention.

But it was immediately retracted and removed with Talamua Media apologizing to the two gentlemen implicated. One of them, Namulauulu Albert Ainu’u, resides in the United States while the second one is Vui Sione Masinamua Vui, who is based in Sydney, Australia. Both men strongly reject the allegation and are threatening to take legal action against the Prime Minister and possibly the source of the story.

 “The recent announcement from Talamua Media published Tuesday 12 June 2018, titled ‘O Le Palemia Ghost Writers Identities Revealed’ by Lagi Keresoma has exposed some desperate smear campaign with unfounded evidence from the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Malielegaoi,” Namulauulu told the Samoa Observer.

 “The allegations are untrue and unfounded, in addition, the public announcement by the Prime Minister is in serious breach of his own Criminal Libel Act passed this year, for defaming others without substantial evidence. These allegations could find himself in Tafaigata prison for defamation.”

Vui on the other hand said Prime Minister Tuilaepa should have taken more care to check his facts before he leapt with his claims.

 “These claims are false and there is absolutely no evidence to support them,” Vui said. “I am not O.L.P. and that is the truth. I have nothing to hide.”

Vui went on to say that he would have expected someone like Prime Minister Tuilaepa to be a lot more careful, especially with claims that destroy people’s reputations. He added that for years, Tuilaepa has abused the position he’s holding to level many ridiculous and unfounded allegations against members of the public – including Samoans residing overseas.

This, Vui said, must stop. We couldn’t agree more. The Prime Minister says some of the most outrageous things on air every time and gets away with it. Will he get away with defaming these members of the public too? If this was someone else making these claims, would they have gotten away with it?

Surely Prime Minister Tuilaepa must have a reason for coughing out of these names. If he does, he should tell us. Keep in mind that since this issue with O.L.P. surfaced, Namulauulu and Vui have not been the only members of the public implicated by Tuilaepa. 

The lone Opposition Member of Parliament, Olo Fiti Vaai, was openly accused of being O.L.P. in Parliament. He denied the allegation. Elsewhere, Tuilaepa has repeatedly accused Samoans based overseas and lawyers of being behind the blog. 

Does he have evidence to prove it? That has got to be the most important question at this point. 

You see, he cannot continue to go on and openly accuse innocent members of the public without any solid evidence. There will come a time when someone is bound to take what he is saying very, very seriously and we don’t want to see the carnage this could potentially cause.

For sometime now, Tuilaepa has been threatening that he has asked the Attorney General to lay charges against the suspects. 

Last week when the this latest development surfaced, we contacted Attorney General, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, for a comment.

“I’ve just seen that PM Tuilaepa has named Vui and Albert Ainuu as part of the O.L.P. group,” we asked.

“Was this uncovered by the Government’s investigation? Does the government have proof that these people are indeed behind O.L.P?”

“And now that they have been found and identified publicly by P.M. Tuilaepa, what is the next course of action? Will your office move to take legal action against them?”

An automated response from Lemalu referred queries to Acting Attorney General, Constance Tafua Rivers, who wrote: “Talofa Mata’afa, I acknowledge receipt of your email. However, please note that your queries have been referred by the Attorney General in his absence from the Office to Nanai Laveitiga Tuiletufuga to address.”

A response from Nanai, who is in Israel by the way, has not been received.

Keep in mind that this was last week. Attorney General Lemalu surely should be back at work by now. And we believe he should enlighten us a bit more about what is going on here.

If the Government has a case against these people, they should tell us. If not, Prime Minister Tuilaepa should stop abusing the office he is holding by continuing to recklessly cough up these people’s names. He should even take the next step and apologise to them publically. 

What do you think?

Have a wonderful Wednesday, Samoa!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 19 June 2018, 12:00AM

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