Falelatai and Samatau petition case adjourned
The legal battle challenging the seat of Falelatai ma Samatau, currently held by Tologata Tile Tuimalealiifano, has been adjourned until next Friday.
The petitioner and Fa’atuatua I le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) candidate, Pau Dr. Roy Ausage filed three bribery charges against Tologata.
Pa’u is represented by lawyer, Muriel Lui while the Human Right’s Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) candidate, Tologata, is represented by Aumua Ming Leung Wai and Lucy Sio-Ofoia.
The lawyers were called into the Chambers twice on Friday morning.
Supreme Court Justices, Lesatele Rapi Vaai and Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma are presiding over the matter.
Justice Lesatele said as a result of the in-chamber discussions, the matter has been adjourned to June 25, next Friday, to allow the petitioner to respond to the details of the counter petition.
The judges granted leave to allow Lupematasila to file his counter petition outside of time on Wednesday. Counter petitions filed outside the allowable time frames specified by the courts are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Lupematasila alleges his rival engaged in bribery and also that a F.A.S.T. roadshow in Mulifanua prior to polling day broke electoral regulations.
Leading up to the election initially three candidates registered to contest the Falelatai and Samatau seat including former Associate Minister and H.R.P.P. member, Taefu Lemi Taefu.
The final election results recorded Lupematasila securing 1008 votes, 851 for Pau and Taefu collecting 346 ballots.
Lupematasila resigned as the General Manager of the Electric Power Corporation to run for parliament last year after 38 years of working at the state-owned utility.
He previously told the Samoa Observer that his decision to join the incumbent H.R.P.P. was due to his district being loyal supporters of the ruling party and its record of service to the country.
Pau – who is the owner of Transit Motel in Mulifanua – was previously the Acting Director of the Department of Youth and Women Affairs in American Samoa.
He was able to contest in the recent election under amendments to the Electoral Act 2019 to accommodate difficulties faced by candidates due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.