Opposition duo not fully paid

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 30 November 2023, 7:00AM

The opposition members who were reinstated by the Supreme Court with orders that they are entitled to their remuneration and backpay since suspension have only received a portion of the payment. 

Opposition Leader, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and party secretary, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi were reinstated by the Court in July this year and ordered to be paid their back pay dating back to May 2020. 

But while Cabinet has endorsed payment for the veteran M.P. for Lepa and M.P. for Faleata No.3,  for their second suspension the members have not received payment for the first suspension. 

This is not reflected in the payment they have received in the account. 

This prompted a follow-up letter from the member’s lawyer, Fuimaono Sefo Jr Ainuu to the Speaker of the House and the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly dated 29 November 2023 querying the matter. 

The lawyer acknowledged receipt of Cabinet Directive FK (23)41 dated 18 October 2023 approving the back pay for the members. 

To date the opposition members are yet to receive the backpay approved in the Cabinet Directive.   

According to the ruling from the Supreme Court on Tuilaepa v Speaker of the Legislative Assembly it noted “the applicants are entitled to be paid their remuneration and the allowances that were withheld on account of the terms of the suspensions”. 

Fuimaono stated the reference to terms of the suspensions refers to their first suspension term from 24 May to 30 August and the second suspension term from 18 October 2022 to 4 July 2023. 

“However, the FK (23) 41 only approves the backpay for the second term suspension,” he said. 

“To comply with the decision in Malielegaoi (supra) specifically paragraph [108](b), the Legislative Assembly and your Office must pay immediately to Honourable Tuilaepa and Tofa Lealailepule their back pay for the first suspension term.” 

Tuilaepa in a recent press conference told the media they have received the first half of their remuneration during their suspension as ordered by the Court and not the second half. 

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 30 November 2023, 7:00AM
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