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Late M.P. to be repatriated home

The body of the late M.P. Vaafusuaga Toleafoa Ken Poutoa will be flown back to the country on a repatriation flight after his wife is discharged from quarantine, says Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.

Tuilaepa said his presence would be missed during the Parliamentary debate.

"He always speaks first, Vaafusuaga does not want anyone to speak before him,” said the Prime Minister. "He always opens the floor for each Parliamentary meeting and the others appreciate this as Vaafusuaga is always breaking the ice for everyone. 

“And the man had such a deep voice."

The Prime Minister offered his sympathies to Vaafusuaga’s wife and his families, saying his passing had cast a cloud over the sitting of the Parliament on Wednesday.

A member of the ruling Human Rights Protection Party, Vaafusuaga passed away on 19 January in Auckland, New Zealand, shortly after being airlifted to the country for emergency treatment. 

On Wednesday, the Speaker of the House, Leaupepe Toleafoa Fa'afisi’s voice broke when calling the Members of Parliament together to observe a moment of silence during the session.

Addressing the House on Tuesday, Leaupepe said the deceased M.P. had often started debate on the floor of Parliament, especially those relating to finances and the country’s national budget. 

A businessman by background, Toleafoa, was a Board Director of the Samoa Shipping Corporation before he entered the Parliament in 2016.

In 2018 at Faleaseela he was bestowed with the Va’afusuaga title, the highest honour in his family. 

The late M.P. will receive an official state funeral upon the return of his body.

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