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Police Academy works to start this month

Construction works for the long-anticipated Samoa Police Academy have been confirmed to begin this month, says the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi in Parliament this week also corrected claims of how the project would be funded, noting that it is a grant from the Government of the People's Republic of China. 

The new state-of-the-art Samoa Police Academy project will come at a cost of $32.8 million and it will be located at Tafaigata.

The Prime Minister said the delay in the project is a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The area has already been gated, and it’s anticipated the front area is where the building will be, while in the back is a field for physical fitness for the Academy,” said the Prime Minister. 

Minister of Police, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt said this project was initially scheduled for March last year. 

“This project will go a long way to assist those that want to join law enforcement in the Country. The Academy will afford the opportunity to upskill the police officers as well as the correction officers.”

Last year the Samoa Land Corporation leased eight acres at Tafa'igata to the Ministry of Police for the establishment of the academy. 

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Finance, Leasiosiofaasisina Oscar Malielegaoi recently told the Samoa Observer the project is an in-kind grant from the Government of the People's Republic of China.

"It is not a loan-funded project.” 

The first steps towards the Academy's construction were taken last month when Parliament set-in-motion a process to hire personnel for its development, including a project manager, a maintenance officer and a security guard. 

According to Leasiosio, there is a counterparty provision in the budget for costs that will be met by the Government of Samoa including: land clearance, utilities to the site (electricity, water); site security; project management and other expenses both Governments had agreed to. 

A total of $158,073 was contained to cover the first tranche of these costs in the 2019-2020 supplementary budget tabled in Parliament last month. 

According to Leasiosio the project will take 18 months to construct. 

The project is expected to include a sports field, running tracks, accommodation, classrooms, a gymnasium, an operational training venue and administrative space. 

The Samoa Observer contacted Leasiosio after a $17.28 million budget allocation for the project was outlined in the Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee but the C.E.O. said $32.8 million represented the full project budget.  

“Of this amount, $17.28 million was allocated in the 2018-2019 [...] budget with $15.52 million provided for in the current Financial Year 2019-2020.”

The Commissioner of Police, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil, told the Samoa Observer earlier, this project is the first of its kind in Samoa. 

“The Samoa Police Academy is envisioned as a multi-agency training centre, with a view [towards] a regional centre of excellence for policing in the Pacific region," he said. 

“This Academy will not be limited to recruitment; rather [it will also include] refresher courses for the Police Officers and law enforcement training for the community, upskilling and the also the bigger picture law enforcement courses for the Pacific."

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