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Govt. to extradite seasonal worker

The Government is working to extradite a Samoan seasonal worker in Australia so he could be brought back to answer an outstanding charge of attempted murder against him. 

Junior Vaituutuu Timu, also known as Junior Vai, left the country in October for Australia under the seasonal workers scheme for a three year contract. There is an outstanding charge of attempted murder against him.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour, Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling, confirmed there are ongoing discussions to extradite Mr. Timu. 

Those discussions are between the Attorney General’s Office, the Ministry of Police, Immigration and M.C.I.L. 

“Once those legal matters are confirmed, the arrangement to return him will be made,” said Pulotu. 

“We must also be mindful that there were agreements that were signed and he also has rights like anyone else. And when it’s a very serious situation like this one, then we will make those arrangements…” 

The C.E.O. said similar to previous cases where seasonal workers had to be extradited to answer to Court cases the same applies in Mr. Timu once all the process and legal issues are dealt with. 

Asked what the latest progress is in Government’s discussion, Pulotu said its “ongoing” and at the moment they have sought legal advice from the Attorney General’s Office. 

Attempts to get a comment from Acting A.G., Galumalemana Loretta Teueli, were unsuccessful.

Mr. Timu was charged in relation to an incident in 2017 at Vaitele-uta where he allegedly poured hot water on another man as revenge for an alleged earlier assault on him. 

According to his mother, Lesi Timu, his son had been appearing in Court for the matter.

But they had not heard from the Court in 2018.  She said it was their understanding that the matter had been dealt with.

Her son then had eventually applied to leave the country under the seasonal worker’s scheme. 

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Agafili Shem Leo, said a person by the name Junior Vaituutuu Timu was issued a passport in 2019. 

"Junior as you always refer [to] is a different person from Junior Vaituutuu," responded Agafili to previous queries. 

"Now, as I said last week, there is no such person as Junior Vai on the [Border Management System]. That means Junior Vai, (if there is a person with that name), has never had or applied for a passport.

"[The] Junior Vaituutuu Timu you are now referring to, has a passport that was issued through the normal immigration processes last year on 5th September. 

"Our records show that he lodged his application on his birth certificate and had complied with requirements for applying for a passport."

The C.E.O. added this is the first travel document issued to this individual.

"On the question of whether or not we had received a [Departure Prohibition Order] on this individual, I confirm that we did not,” he said. 

Mr. Timu’s case surfaced in Court earlier last month when the 33-year-old farmer failed to appear in Court for his matter. 

The prosecution had informed the Court that the accused had his travel documents surrendered on 17 July 2019 and was asked to sign in with the Police station. 

Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke had urged the prosecutor to find out how the accused managed to flee the country after surrendering his travel documents. 

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