Savai'i taxi drivers urged to make Police election complaint
Assistant Electoral Commissioner Lefau Francis Ainu'u has urged the public in Savai’i who witnessed illegal conduct by candidates’ committee members to lodge complaints with the Police.
The senior Office of Electoral Commission official, prior to the general election on Friday, responded to claims by taxi drivers in Savai’i that they had “lost business” to candidates’ committee members who drove to the Salelologa wharf to pick up their voters disembarking from the ferry.
A taxi driver, Samuelu Nanai of Fusi told the Samoa Observer they had anticipated that with thousands of people returning to Savai’i to vote, they would have been able to capitalise on their demand for transport upon their arrival at the wharf.
“It is sad that it is not the case, yet I know it has been publicly addressed that committee members are not allowed to pick up voters or be doing them any favors,” he said.
“It’s against the law, but it seems like committee members are ignoring the law.
“As you have witnessed here, the ferries are back to back and we all came this morning (Thursday) so excited assuming we will be getting some revenue but sadly that is not the case.”
Another taxi driver, Ma’amatumua Leone expressed similar sentiments, saying: “Despite the law, yet the Committee members are still doing it.”
When approached and asked to comment, Lefau said Savai’i residents should front up and report to the relevant authorities if they noticed anything suspicious.
“If they are also subjects of passengers picked up by candidates then they should know that it is against the law,” he added.
“They should come forward and lodge a complaint with the Police because we can’t [take those complaints] but it is a crime under the Police Ordinance [Act].”
Mr Leone said he and other taxi drivers are considering taking the matter to the Police.
“Especially that it’s illegal and it's done in the public eye. It is unbelievable that these people think it's okay to just ignore the law.
“At the same time, rip us off while we are trying to make ends meet.
As you can see here in the parking lot, the taxis are not moving and that it’s because the committee members are picking up the voters and taking them to their residences.”