Cabinet orders Associate Ministers to return Govt. property

Cabinet has ordered Associate Ministers immediately terminated and ordered them to return vehicles and other assets, as Parliament dissolves before the election, a confidential Cabinet paper reveals. 

A Cabinet Directive (F.K. 21.2) issued on 13 January this year and obtained by the Samoa Observer reveals Ministers were instructed to oversee the return of Government property by the Associate Ministers. 

After Parliament rises for the final time on Tuesday, current members of the Cabinet will assume caretaker roles until the general election on Friday 9 April.  

“In its meeting on Wednesday 13 January 2021 Cabinet discussed Cabinet papers P.K. (21) 18 and concluded to: terminate the services of Associate Ministers on the day Parliament dissolves in accordance with Parliament rules,” the directive, which is marked confidential, reads. 

The document is signed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet Agafili Shem Leo and dated 13 January this year. 

“[Associate Ministers] are to return Government assets including vehicles assigned to the respective positions,” the directive reads. 

“According to the Cabinet Directive F.K. (21). 2 This decision was conducted under urgency [provisions] and in accordance with Article 38 (1) C of the constitution.”

The relevant article of the constitution states that if, in the “opinion of a majority of Ministers present and voting at [a] meeting” agree, then any decisions can be deemed to be of “extreme urgency” and take effect within one day of the decision being taken. 

The Cabinet Directive was addressed to the Minister of Justice and Courts Administration, Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainu’u; the Commissioner of the Electoral Commission, Faimalomatumua Matthew Lemisio; the Legislative Assembly Clerk, Tiatia Graeme Tualaulelei; the Ministry of Finance’s Chief Executive Officer, Leasiosiofaasisina Oscar Malielegaoi and Attorney-General Savalenoa Mareva Betham-Annandale.

The Associate Ministers affected by the decision are as follows: 

Associate Ministers

Ministry of the Prime Minister & Cabinet: Peseta Vaifou Tevaga

Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment: Taefu Lemi Taefu

Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Labour, Ministry of Public Enterprises: Tuifaasisina Misa Lisati Leleisiuao

Ministry of Women, Community & Social Development: Salausa Dr. John Ah Ching

Samoa Tourism Authority: Amituanai Fagaivalu Kenrick Samu

Ministry of Finance: Mulipola Leiataua Laki

Ministry of Health: Tofa Li’o Foleni Li’o

Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries: Faasootauloa Pati Taulapapa

Ministry of Communications & Information Technology: Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi

Ministry of Revenue and Customs; Ministry of Police & Prisons: Lenatai Victor Tamapua

Ministry of Justice & Courts Administration:: Sooalo Umi Feo Mene

Ministry of Works, Transport & Infrastructure: Seiuli Ueligitone Seiuli

Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture: Alai’asa Moefaauouo Sepulona Moananu

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