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A.G. rejects Fiame's "propaganda" claims

The Attorney General's Office has hit back at former Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mataafa, saying her "propaganda" remarks shows her lack of understanding of the Attorney General's role.

In a public statement sent through the Government Press Secretariat, the office clarified that it is the Attorney General's role to correct any inaccurate statements made in relation to Samoan laws.

The statement was made in response to a Samoa Observer's article title "Attorney General's material "propaganda": Fiame", published on Thursday.

Attorney General added that it is imperative for the Office to correct any clear misstatements of the laws which they are of the view is "misleading the public."

"The political agenda of the three bills lies solely with each Member of Parliament, but for the the Office of the Attorney General,  it will continue it's role of explaining and correcting any statements made in relation to any law of Samoa when it arises," the statement reads.

On Wednesday, Fiame said in the three weeks since the bills were passed, Parliamentarians were yet to see a complete copy of the new laws.

The Land and Titles Court Bill 2020, Constitution Amendment Bill 2020, and the Judicature Amendment Bill 2020 passed into law on 15 December. A total of 41 M.P.s voted for the legislation; only four opposed it. 

Since then, the Office of the Attorney General has been releasing a series of explainers on the new legislation.

“It is propaganda to the extent that there is no text to go with it. Unless you have a text you can’t say if it’s right or not right,” Fiame said at a Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party campaign event.

“They are actually backtracking on a lot of stuff that they said, but we can’t say that for sure because we haven’t seen the body of the law.”

The laws amend the constitution and create an autonomous Land and Titles Court (L.T.C.) beyond the scope of the review of the Supreme Court. They would also increase the Prime Minister’s power to determine the composition of the judiciary.  

The Attorney General was contacted for comment on Wednesday.

The legislation became the official law of the land on Tuesday after they were assented to by the Head of State, His Highness Tuimalealiifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II.

Despite this, the legislation has not been published online for public viewing or made available to Members of Parliament by the Office of the Legislative Assembly. 

Fiame said without access to a copy of the laws in their entirety it is difficult to discuss the new legislation.

“I don’t have the body of the new legislation in one document so I can actually see what has been changed,” the former Deputy Prime Minister said. 

“No one has seen that, so unless we see that it’s hard to have a proper discussion. They (the Attorney General) are picking at things, and that is all very well but that is the first step that needs to be taken.”

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