Minister-elect on drink driving charge

The Minister-elect for Natural Resources and Environment, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster was charged and detained on Tuesday night for alleged drink driving. 

The Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil confirmed the Faatuatua ile Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) Minister-elect had been held in Police custody. 

"I can confirm that he was locked up last night for [alleged] drunk driving," said the Commissioner. 

He declined to go into any further details out of respect for the representative. 

Attempts to get a comment from Toeolesulusulu have been unsuccessful. 

The incident followed a celebration from the party on Tuesday to commemorate the nation’s 59th Independence Day and the founding anniversary of the F.A.S.T. party.

A mugshot of the elected M.P. for Aana Alofi No. 4 taken at the Police station on the night of the incident was circulated on social media on Wednesday morning.

The Ministry of Police has not responded to questions whether the release of Toeolesulusulu's photo was authorised and appropriate or was released unofficially and for possibly politically motivated reasons. 

The elected Minister is an environmentalist and was named the Minister for Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.) following an ad-hoc swearing-in of the F.A.S.T. members on Monday last week. 

In addition to that cabinet portfolio, Toeolesulusulu was also named as having charge of the Samoa Tourism Authority and the Planning and Urban Management Agency in the 24 Monday swearing-in ceremony held outside Parliament.

The legitimacy of that ceremony and the swearing-in is currently the subject of a dispute before the Supreme Court.

In a separate matter Toeolesulusulu is also facing an electoral petition mounted by former Cabinet Minister, Afamasaga Rico Tupai following the 9th April General Election. 

Afamasaga was unable to defend his seat allowing the F.A.S.T. elected M.P. to come through as the winner. In response to that electoral petition, Toeolesulusulu filed a counter-petition. 

The elected M.P. for Aana Alofi No. 4 is involved in another case where he is charged with four other F.A.ST. members including the Prime Minister elect, Fiame Naomi Mataafa. 

They all pleaded not guilty to a total of 22 charges of bribery and treating. 

Toeolesulusulu is facing one count of bribery and treating and his hearing is scheduled for November this year. 

He first entered parliament in 2011 under the Tautua Samoa party banner and lost in the 2016 General Election against Afamasaga. 

In 2013 he was convicted and fined $1500 by the District Court for being party to a roadblock at Satapuala. He was charged for unlawful assembly, resisting police and obstruction, and using foul language.

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