Land and Titles Court rules on Faumuina title at Lepea
A Judge of the Land and Titles Court and a former Church Minister, Leilua Opapo Soanai, is set to become the next holder of the Faumuina chiefly title of Lepea.
This was the decision delivered verbally by the President and a Panel of Judges of the Lands and Titles Court on Monday, several parties to the matter confirmed in response to questions from the Samoa Observer.
Leilua Opapo also confirmed the decision.
“I am grateful to God for the opportunity,” Leilua said, speaking to the Samoa Observer via phone.
“[Our] family members vied for this title, but the [Land and Titles Court (L.T.C.) has rendered their decision in appointing me to the family title at this time.”
The L.T.C. Judge, who spoke to the Samoa Observer from Savai’i, said 12 sides of the family with links to the Faumuina title, were contending for its ultimate bestowal.
"However, it came down to five names," he said. "All of whom are heirs of the late Faumuina Letupufia Pa’ovale. They included Fiame Naomi [Mata’afa]; Lei'ataua […]; Ulugia Aukuso [Simo]; Maleulu Misimoa and me.”
Leilua Opapo said the decision was delivered verbally but they are waiting on a written decision from the L.T.C. in relation to the case.
“This is the first time in over a hundred years our side has finally had a chance at the title," he said. "This is something to be thankful for.
“I also want to commend our family who have thrown in their support for our side to have a chance to hold the title."
It is not known when the bestowal ceremony will take place.
"Our family will soon get together and as we all know, that after Court cases families have to come together for the next step in achieving [the Faumuina] title.”
Efforts to get comments from other members of the family were unsuccessful.
Many of them spoke to the Samoa Observer off the record, saying they are all waiting on the written decision to review the reasons behind the Court’s decision.