Former M.P. disqualified as a candidate

Former Member of Parliament, Magailefua Maposua Faitua, has been disqualified from running in the 2021 General Election, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The election petition questioning the validity of Magailefua’s candidacy was filed by rival candidate and businessman, Fuatimau Maumea Leniu.

Both men have both nominated to contest the Vaimauga No. 1 seat in the April election.

The matter went before Supreme Court Justices Vui Clarence Nelson and Leiataualesa Darryl Clarke.

The court’s decision comes after Magailefua admitted during the hearing on Wednesday that he had not satisfied the monotaga [village contribution] which came with his chiefly title and is a requirement for election candidates. 

The court also rejected Magailefua’s application to instead use his Maposua title as it was not filed for use within the timeframe allowed by the Electoral Act 2019.

“This court has no jurisdiction or power to extend the time in such matters,” Justice Vui said. 

“We are of the view that the motion is out of time and by law, it must be rejected.”

Therefore it was deemed “unnecessary” to decide on strikeout motions filed by the other two parties in the case.

Lawyer Leota Tima Leavai acted on behalf of Magailefua as the second respondent, while Fuatimau was represented by former lead prosecutor Tofilau M. Leone Mailo-Sua. Elemesi Schmidt represented the Office of the Electoral Commission.

The former M.P. and the businessman both nominated to contest the Vaimauga No. 1 seat last month. Both men had registered to run under the banner of the ruling Human Rights Protection Party.

The court also heard that the admission by Magailefua during the hearing that he had not met the monotaga requirement meant he was to be disqualified from running as a candidate.

“The Electoral Commissioner himself, through his counsel has agreed that in light of the second respondent’s concession, he should be disqualified,” continued Justice Vui said.

With Magailefua now out of the race, Fuatimau will now take on the incumbent M.P., Sulamanaia Tauiliili Tuivasa as well as Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau in the race for the Vaimauga No.1 seat.

The constituency comprises Fagalii, Vailele, Vailele-uta, Letogo and Laulii.

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