H.R.P.P. to settle petition

Previously contesting members of the Human Rights Protection Party have agreed to settle their election dispute and will withdraw a legal challenge currently before the court.

Fuatimau Maumea Leniu filed a petition against his H.R.P.P. colleague and elected Member of Parliament for the seat of Vaimauga 1, Sulamanaia Tauiliili Tanuvasa.

But when the matter was called for hearing on Monday morning, both parties agreed to negotiate and settle their case.

Lawyer Tanya Toailoa representing Fuatimau told the Court about her client’s intention and confirmed the same approach from the respondent.

She said a motion of withdrawal will be filed this week to support their intention.

Sulaimanaia, through lawyer Tuatagaloa Shane Wulf, confirmed the parties' negotiation and indicated they will also withdraw the counter petition.

The Chief Justice, His Honour Satiu Simativa Perese adjourned the matter until Monday next week.

He ordered the parties to advertise their intention to withdraw as part of the process.

Justice Lesatele Rapi Vaai was also sitting with the Chief Justice to hear the petition.

In an interview with the media, Sulamanaia said the settlement should be finalised by Monday once the lawyers conclude the negotiation terms.

He was thankful to God saying their matter is less complex due to the fact that they are both from the same party and from the same village of Laulii.

Fuatimau, a civil engineer who has previously resided in the United States, declined to comment.

He was unsuccessful in his bid to secure a term in office in the 2016 General Election.   

The second-placed getter in April’s election collected 991 votes to Sulamanaia's 1349 ballots.

Sulamanaia first entered Parliament in 2016 when he defeated former Cabinet Minister, Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau.

The outspoken elected M.P. for Vaimauga 1 had been vocal in Parliament criticising Cabinet in the parliamentary term for allegedly interfering with the recruitment process for Chief Executive Officer.

A former public servant, the elected M.P. was a member of Parliament's committee visiting all constituencies in Upolu and Savaii on the controversial Land and Titles Court Bill before it was enacted into law.  

The constituency of Vaimauga 1 consists of the vilages of Fagalii, Vailele, Letogo and Laulii.

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