Petition withdrawn

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia 16 April 2016, 12:00AM

The Member of Parliament for Alataua West, Ali’imalemanu Alofa Tu’uau, has been spared to serve her five-year term in Parliament.

It follows a decision from former M.P for the constituency, Lafaitele Patrick Lei’ataualesa, to withdraw his election petition yesterday.

Lafaitele had accused his rival of bribery and treating during the General Election. 

Lawyers Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu and Unasa Iuni Sapolu represented him in Court.   Amelia Fa’asau represented Ali’imalemanu. 

In informing the Court about an agreement reached by the parties during mediation, Mr. Fuimaono Sapolu said his client was unwell and could not attend the proceedings. 

“But we’ve been instructed by our client to withdraw the petition,” he said.

Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu is one of two judges presiding. The other is Justice Lesatele Rapi Va’ai.

His Honour Patu told the Court he could not disclose what was agreed upon during the mediation because it was confidential.

 “But the Court will make an order that the notice of motion for the withdrawal of the petition be published in a newspaper tomorrow,” he said. 

“This matter will be recalled on Tuesday 3rd May to give the parties time to complete the withdrawal process set out in the rules.”

Chief Justice Patu acknowledged the work of the lawyers involved.

He also thanked the constituency affected in the matter for their support as well as the petitioner for change of heart. 

“Although there are ups and downs, it ends up being resolved,” he said. 

Outside Court, Ali’imalemanu, was a relieved woman.

“I thank God there is peace and the matter has been resolved, a method that I had wanted,” said the woman M.P. 

“This is the spirit of us Samoans, we want to resolve things and not be brought to Court. I thank the mediation for their part and my constituency and families for their support through this.”

But Mr. Fuimaono-Sapolu did not share the same excitement.

“We are getting these breaks in the village of breaking the law and its never getting to Court,” he explained. 

“Instead of changing the law to address bribery now the law is being changed...there is a break over here it’s never getting to Court and something is getting in between. 

“We need to start talking about it first that there is something going on.”

The lawyer added that “we have a kid being arrested for selling a leaf (marijuana) and sent to jail. 

“In theory I have the law but it does not protect anyone in the village.”

Before the agreement was signed, Mr. Fuimaono-Sapolu had told the Court that the parties could not reach a conclusive solution on Thursday. 

“In terms of this case it’s been extremely difficult because of the pressure that our client is under,” said Sapolu. 

“We may come up and talk about mediation but walking from that room to this Courtroom can change things. It is unbelievable pressure your Honour with things going backwards and forth.”

The petition is one of four petitions withdrawn this week. The others involve the Speaker of Parliament, Leaupepe Tole’afoa Fa’afisi, Urban West MP, Faumuina Wayne Fong and Falelatai and Samatau MP, Taefu Lemi.

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia 16 April 2016, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

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