Olo, Faumuina to be paid by Wednesday

Independent Members of Parliament Olo Fiti Vaai and Faumuina Wayne Fong will have their outstanding salaries paid by the Parliament on Wednesday.

The payment of the two Members’ salaries was halted in October last year after the Speaker declared their seats vacated, only for the Supreme Court to overturn the decision in December after Olo and Faumuina went to court.

But the Legislative Assembly did not put the lawmakers back on the payroll, in line with the court’s ruling in December that declared the Speaker’s decision unconstitutional, consequently the two politicians accumulating backpay.

Last week the Salega East M.P. and his Urban West colleague threatened to go back to court to seek legal redress for the unpaid salaries, as well as other losses and damages.

The Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Tiatia Graeme Tualaulelei, did not respond to questions from this newspaper on the issue. 

But Faumuina on Saturday confirmed to the Samoa Observer that they had accepted a plea by the Clerk, to expect all monies due to them to be paid by the Legislative Assembly by Wednesday.

He previously estimated the total back pay plus allowances due to him to be worth about $12,000. 

The pair had their seats voided by the Speaker of the House, Leaupepe Toleafoa Fa’afisi after they registered with the Fa’atuatua ile Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party to contest in the upcoming general election. 

The Speaker had ruled that by registering for the opposition party both M.P.s had fallen foul of anti-party switching laws.

But on 14 December a panel of Supreme Court Justices ruled in favour of the M.P.s' claim that the decision of the Speaker was in breach of the constitution in an expedited hearing on the matter. 

Faumuina said the decision of the court to reinstate the M.P.s in the Parliament was well publicised and received by everyone including those in the Parliament and its administrative arm. The court awarded costs of $1500 each to the two Members of Parliament to be paid by the Speaker after the proceedings.

The Salega East M.P. said the refusal by the Legislative Assembly to pay their salaries was an indication that authorities had not accepted the decision of the court.

In a recent interview, Olo had also expressed disappointment with the delay in receiving their pay. 

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