Authorities mum on Cabinet Minister probe

The relevant authorities have gone quiet on the progress of a criminal investigation involving a Cabinet Minister accused of forgery.

Neither the Police nor the Office of the Attorney General would give an update about the investigation, in response to questions from the Samoa Observer. To date, its unclear whether the Attorney General’s office has completed its review of the Investigation File.

In June 2017, it was confirmed by the Acting Assistant Commissioner, Sala’a Moananu Sala’a, that the Police have submitted the file to the Attorney General’s Office for a final review. 

“The file was handed over sometime in May, 2017,” he said. 

A month later, the Attorney General, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, confirmed with the Samoa Observer that the extensive investigation file was with his office.

 “The file already had recommended charges against individuals therein with a request for a review and for advice regarding those proposed charges,” Lemalu said at the time. 

“Further police investigations have continued after the file was delivered so that full consideration of the evidence is ongoing.” 

The A.G. told the Samoa Observer the file would be tendered back to the Ministry of Police when all the evidence is considered. 

“Once they receive the advice it will then be the Ministry of Police's final decision as to whether to file charges, as their office is vested with the legal authority to bring criminal charges to Court." 

“This office can only advise and act as counsel but strictly speaking cannot itself bring criminal charges against individuals."

“The final advice will be presented in the upcoming weeks.” 

This was on 6 July 2017. 

Follow up questions from the Samoa Observer as to the present status of the matter have not been responded to from both the Office of the A.G. and the Police.

Sala’a had told the Samoa Observer the matter is a “high profile criminal case.” 

“They have also been asked for their recommendations as to the appropriate charge(s) in this case,” Sala’a said about their request to the Office of the Attorney General. 

“The criminal case against the Cabinet Minister is around allegations of forgery.”

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