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Acting A.G. refers La'auli case questions to new boss

Acting Attorney General, Galumalemana Loretta Teueli, has deferred all questions about a case against the former Cabinet Minister, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt, to the recently appointed Attorney General, Savalenoa Mareva Betham.

Savalenoa's appointment was announced last week but the Samoa Observer understands that she does not begin her new role officially until another two weeks.

Galumalemana was contacted on telephone to confirm reports that the Attorney General’s Office had recommended not to appeal La’auli’s case. Reports say they found that there was no ground of appeal. 

In response, the Acting Attorney General said all queries relating to La’auli’s file will have to wait until Savalenoa assumes her role. 

Asked if she was not able to provide comment in her capacity as the Acting Attorney General, Galumalemana said: “Have a nice day” and hung up the phone. 

The more than 100 charges against La’auli and four other co-defendants stemmed from a fall out in a business deal over a nonu juice company that also involved Associate Minister, Peseta Vaifou Tevaga.

Peseta was also the complainant for the matter that has been going through lawsuits and counter claims between La'auli and Peseta for the past seven years.  

Contacted for a comment on reports the matter is likely to not go through appeal, Peseta said the matter is with the Attorney General’s Office and he has nothing to say about it. 

Earlier this week, Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi was asked if he was aware of a recommendation from the A.G. not to appeal La’auli’s case. 

In response, Tuilaepa who is also the Minister of the Attorney General’s Office, said he was not aware of it.  He added that the matter has nothing to do with him. 

The Assistant Chief Executive Officer, of the Ministry of Justice Courts and Administration, Ve’atauia Faatasi Puleiata confirmed this week that the A.G’s office has not filed an appeal to date.  He said there was no motion filed within the mandatory 21 days for La’auli’s case. 

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