Hearing date set for Tuala's dual petition

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 21 November 2020, 2:00PM

Two electoral petitions, filed by lawyer and candidate, Tuala Tevaga Iosefo, against two opponents from Gagaemauga No. 1 in next year's General Election, will be jointly called on Monday, next week. 

Tuala is questioning the eligibility qualification of Leoa Tauti Faaleolea and Tevaga Tupuivao Mapusaga, of Saleaula, Savai'i.

Lawyer Fuimaono Sarona Ponifasio is acting on behalf of Tuala while Fuimaono Sefo Ainu'u and Gafatasi Patu are representing the Office of the Electoral Commission.

The two candidates were not represented by counsel when the matter was called on Friday afternoon. 

Unasa Iuni Sapolu appeared before the Court saying she initially advised Leoa on the matter when the petition was called for mention. 

However, she was advised by the Acting Chief Justice, Her Honour Niava Mata Tuatagaloa, to recuse herself as there is a possibility she will be called in as a witness.  

The matter was before Justice Lesatele Rapi Vaai and Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke.

The lawyers were told the hearing will commence on Monday. 

Justice Vaai said both petitions will be heard together.
The electoral challenge are two of three remaining petitions pending before the Supreme Court.

From the 20 petitions lodged earlier this month, four candidates later withdrew their electoral challenge. 

Those include the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti who was the first to drop the petition against his opponent and businessman Fiu Gasologa Foloki. 

Incumbent Member of Parliament for Aiga ile Tai and Associate Minister of Finance, Mulipola Laki Leiataua, Deputy Leader of Samoan National Democratic Party, Vui Seinafolava Matamua, businessman I'a Sau Kaisara have also withdrawn their cases. 

Two other candidates were immediately disqualified after the Court was satisfied they do not meet the eligibility requirement to contest for the 2021 General Election. 

That leaves the 14 petitions for the Supreme Court Judges to deliver decisions on by 27th November. 

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 21 November 2020, 2:00PM

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