Safata No. 2 M.P.-elect to resign

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 07 July 2021, 12:00AM

A fifth by-election has been triggered after yet another Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) election winner has stood down after legal petitions following the April elections.

Nonu Lose Niumata, the M.P.-elect for for Safata No. 2 has been asked to resign as part of a condition to drop a post-election petition against him. His election challenger had mounted a case against his election, while Nonu himself lodged a counter-petition. 

Challenger Laumatiamanu Ringo Purcell indicated in Court on Wednesday he and Nonu had reached an agreement to withdraw their petition and counter-suit. 

The by-election drops the H.R.P.P.'s confirmed numbers in Parliament to 20 leaving, compared to 26 for F.A.S.T.

Laumatiamanu confirmed both parties have agreed to retract their electoral challenges on conditions that Nonu resigns from office triggering the fifth by-election after April’s polling day. 

The Fa’atuatua ile Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) second placed getter said both candidates are eligible to contest the by-election should they decide to run again. 

Justice Niava Mata Tuatagaloa and Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren presided the matter. Lawyers Leiataualesa Komisi Koria and Pose Toma acted for Laumatiamanu while Arthur Lesa represented Nonu. 

The case has been adjourned until Wednesday next week to allow the parties to advertise their intention to withdraw and provide an affidavit supporting their decision. 

Nonu took the lead on polling day with 578 votes while Laumatiamanu secured 466 ballots. 

The petition is the third by-election triggered by terms agreed by M.Ps-elect, all of which are from H.R.P.P., to resign from office and in turn withdrawing the petitions from their rivals.  

Those include the elected M.P. from Sagaga 4, Tuisa Tasi Patea and elected M.P. for Falealupo, Leota Tima Leavai. 

Two other elected M.P. from H.R.P.P. had their seats void as a consequence of being found guilty of bribery following a substantive hearing of the electoral challenge.

The seats for Aleipata-Itupa-i-Lalo and Sagaga no2 are vacant after the elected M.P., Fiugalu Eteuati Eteuati (Aleipata-itupa-I-Lalo) and Seiuli Ueligitone Seiuli were declared void by the Court. 

Three other candidates that initiated petitions against their winning opponents were also found guilty of bribery and treating and as a result will not be eligible to run in the next 10 years for election. 

Those include leader of Tautua Samoa party, Afualo Dr. Wood Salele, former Tautua M.P., Ili Setefano Taateo and independent candidate and former M.P., Maualaivao Patelesio Ah Him. 

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 07 July 2021, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

Upgrade to Premium

Subscribe to
Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy unlimited access to all our articles on any device + free trial to e-Edition. You can cancel anytime.