Company contests state of emergency fine

Another company fined $26,000 fine for allegedly breaching COVID-19 state of emergency restrictions is contesting the penalty. 

The Molida Shipping Agency, a local agent for Matson South Pacific, is accused of breaching the state of emergency restrictions by breaching certain requirements such as requirements to obtain proper clearance.

But the decision to fine the company is under review, the interim chairman of the National Emergency Operations Centre, Agafili Shem Leo, said in response to questions by the Samoa Observer.

The fine was assessed by the National Emergency Operation Centre and overseen by the Ministry of Police and Prisons.

“The committee is currently reviewing its decision on the Molida Matson [case] apropos requirements of the state of emergency,” said Agafili.

“The process is continuing and the company will be advised soonest of the committee's review outcome.”

The Manager for the Malido Shipping Agency, Masuisui Jr Pereira, declined to comment about the details of the fine. 

“I can’t comment on that, because the papers just arrived yesterday [Friday] but I can’t really comment because I have to get the okay from my Principals because it's not just me,” Masuisui told the Samoa Observer.

Earlier this week, Talofa Airways was slapped with a $6,000 fine by the National Emergency Operation Centre for failing to comply with state of emergency restrictions after bringing a pilot from Vanuatu into Samoa.

The airline is alleged to have brought in the pilot from Vanuatu without required Government authorisation.

“We understand and [of course] we're trying to protect the country, but there are certain things [we should] use logic and common sense; don’t just stick to the [rules]," said Talofa Airways C.E.O., Toleafoa Jeffrey Hunter.

“It's [an] unusual [time] and we will just leave as it is."

The airline chief confirmed the pilot they transported works for Samoa Airways.

Six months ago, Police collected about $45,000 in fines from breaches of state of emergency orders and the amount of fines they dispense generally has significantly grown, the Police Commissioner revealed.

The Police and Prisons Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil, referred to the number of fines issued since the state of emergency was first introduced in March 2020, almost one year ago.

Some of the orders include prohibiting public gatherings of more than 100 people and to maintain social distancing of two metres.

According to Fuiavailiili, Police will not be spending the money collected from fines.

“We have written a lot of tickets and have collected about $45,000 worth of fines through this period from entities or people that did not abide by their provision of the state of emergency,” he said.

He also explained that Police are merely the enforcers of the law and money collectors. 



Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?