Voter took illegal bribe

A voter from the Sagaga No. 2 constituency has testified to taking money from an election candidate despite knowing it was illegal to do so. 

Vasega Taueetia, a 52-year-old from Malie, gave evidence during a counter-petition filed by Seiuli Ueligitone Seiuli against the seat's unsuccessful independent candidate, Maualaivao Patelesio Ah Him. 

The counter-petition was in response to a petition from Maualaivao seeking to unseat the elected member for the seat through a legal challenge.

Mr. Taueetia alleged that sometime in April leading up to that month's election that he was in town to do some shopping when he heard about Maualaivao giving out money. 

Lawyer Magele Leone Sua-Mailo for Maualivao then asked the witness if he was aware that accepting money from candidates was illegal. 

He said he did. 

When the lawyer pressed the witness as to why he collected the money if he knew it was illegal Mr. Taueetia then retracted his answer.

“No I didn’t know [it was illegal],” he replied. 

Magele put it to the witness that even though he knew accepting money from candidates was illegal but it did not stop him. 

In response, Mr. Taueetia said he wasn’t after any money he just happened to be in town when he heard about Maualaivao giving out money. 

When he arrived at the candidate’s business in Fugalei he was asked by his secretary for his name and phone number. 

According to the witness he then went into Maualaivao’s office where he was told of the candidate’s intention to run in the election. 

Mr. Taueetia said the candidate told him to lend him his support in the election to which he responded that God would give him the answer. 

It was then that the witness alleged he was given $50 for his bus fare home - an amount he accepted and then left. 

Justice Vui Clarence Nelson and Justice Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma are presiding over the matter. 

Lawyer Leinafo Taimalelagi Strickland and Tuatagaloa Shane Wulf are representing Seiuli. 

The hearing continues.

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