Property directive nothing new: P.M.
An order for Associate Ministers to immediately return vehicles and other Government assets after the final sitting of Parliament is nothing new, the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says.
Speaking during his weekly programme with TV3, Tuilaepa explained that every year the reminder is put out to all Government officials to return public assets as soon as their term is over.
A Cabinet Directive (F.K. 21.2) issued on 13 January this year and obtained by the Samoa Observer showed Ministers were instructed to oversee the return of Government property by Associate Ministers.
After Parliament rises for the final time this week, current members of the Cabinet will assume caretaker roles until the general election on Friday 9 April.
“It means someone has leaked the [Cabinet Directive], making it seem like it is something new. It is not new,” the Prime Minister said on Wednesday.
“It is only a reminder that once your governmental term is over, return the Government assets. It is only a reminder. It is reminded for every Government each time their term comes to a close.
The principle applies to everyone, Tuilaepa said, highlighting that after the term is over, “you return to your home on your own.”
“We don’t want a circumstance where one takes Government assets; that is stealing,” he said.
“Including the Head of State, and myself, every Government appointee; you come in with nothing, and you leave with nothing. All these belong to the country.
“Anyone who does this will be cursed, even if they are the Head of State. The Head of State walked in with just himself, and then after his time, he will walk out on his own to his family.
“There is no reason why anyone should take [the property] of the country. Just because you had been appointed the role does not mean you can own things that belong to the country.”
Tuilaepa also revealed that there was a principle in Parliament where a Prime Minister who finishes his term is able to take the official car he had used with him, but it was repealed last year.
“We decided that all those years spent in office is enough; I’d be surprised if one doesn’t earn enough money within those years to buy himself an old bomb to travel around in town,” he said.
The document was signed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet Agafili Shem Leo and dated 13 January this month.
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 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.