Police dispel rumours of fourth arrest over P.M. assassination plot
Reports a fourth person has been arrested in connection to an alleged plot to assassinate the Prime Minister are false, the Acting Police Commissioner has confirmed.
“I can confirm we have only charged three people,” Acting Police Commissioner, Papali’i Monalisa Keti, told the Samoa Observer.
She added the investigation is ongoing.
The three men charged for conspiracy to assassinate Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi are Malele Atofu Paulo - better known as King Faipopo - Lema’I Faioso Sione, and Taualai Taualai.
Paulo and Lema’I are in custody and will make their appearance with Taualai in Court next Monday.
A statement from Police last week stated the investigation will extend investigations to other jurisdictions and determine whether overseas nationals were directly involved in the plot.
A Samoan residing in Australia is believed to be involved in the alleged conspiracy.
Police have also said the alleged conspiracy has involved money changing hands between plotters.
The investigation is examining at least one financial transfer from a person or entity based in Australia as part of an investigation into possible financial links between the alleged conspirators.
“Evidence alleges planning of a weapon, transportation and that cash was exchanged between the conspirators,” the statement said.
Police said that the evidence for all charges had been reviewed by the Attorney General’s office.
Police have also warned of “false statements” made by “ill intentioned persons” on social media.
In particular the Police expressly denied that the Prime Minister was related to any members of the alleged conspiracy, or that he was involved in any way beyond serving as an alleged target.
“If ongoing public false statements posted on social media by knowing or ill intended persons encroach on the investigation or hinder the course of justice in any way, then that will be taken seriously.”
Police were alerted tp the conspiracy two weeks ago by the village council of La’auli.
The village mayor, Fa’alogo Sasauli Moli, had said the third accused plotter, Taualai, was banished from the village but was reaccepted later that same week.
This was to assist the Police in keeping track of the accused, who has also been banished from his family’s village.