Former P.M. quietly packs up

By Soli Wilson 24 July 2021, 12:00AM

The former Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi has started to pack his personal effects in the Government office he has occupied for 22 years, the Samoa Observer can reveal.

This newspaper was outside the Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinuu II building on Saturday morning and saw boxes being packed onto a Toyota Hilux Double Cab which was parked in the carpark outside the office.

It is understood Tuilaepa’s family members were at the building assisting the former Prime Minister pack his personal effects.

There was a heavy police presence around the Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinuu II building’s ground floor, with a Police officer also warning this newspaper’s photographer that should any photos be taken it would become a Police matter.

Attempts by this newspaper to enter the building were unsuccessful. They were told by Police officers present that the media is prohibited from entering the building during the weekend.

The former Prime Minister’s decision to start packing are the first signs of conceding defeat in three months after the constitutional crisis began.

In response to earlier rulings such a recent Supreme Court order that he leave office, Tuilaepa has been outspoken in taking on the judiciary in he was a relatively subdued presence on Saturday.

Reporters from this newspaper were denied entry to the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) conference on Saturday.

Other reporters hoping to ask the former Prime Minister a question were disappointed when the only interview he gave was to the TV1 show 'Tami ma le Palemia'. He also made a brief appearance on a livestream at the official H.R.P.P. Facebook, holding a ukelele while smiling and singing songs with party cadres.

The former Prime Minister's son, Leasiosiofa’asisina Oscar Malielegaoi, who is the C.E.O. for the Ministry of Finance, was amongst the heads of Government Ministries and agencies who met with the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) Cabinet Ministers at the party's headquarters at Vaitele fou Saturday morning.

Tuilaepa is not the only former Cabinet Minister yet to vacate their offices as a number of the former Cabinet Ministers’ vehicles were still being used up until Friday, when the Court of Appeal ruled that the 24 May 2021 impromptu swearing-in by the F.A.S.T. under a tent outside Parliament was lawful, and F.A.S.T. will now head the new Government following the 9 April general election.

Some of the vehicles used by the former H.R.P.P. Cabinet Ministers were sighted at the Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinuu II building carpark.

Most of the former Cabinet Ministers started packing their personal effects not long after it was announced the caretaker Government had not secured a majority in the April election.

Last month the F.A.S.T. gave the caretaker Government a 48-hour deadline to vacate the office after talks between the two parties’ leaders collapsed. The 12-month-old party backed down from using force to move into office in order to maintain peace.

However, on Friday the Court of Appeal ruled that the F.A.S.T. is Samoa’s official Government after the April election and its leader, Fiame Naomi Mataafa the country’s first female Prime Minister.

The Chief Justice, His Honour Satiu Simativa Perese alongside Justice Niava Mata Tuatagaloa and Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren delivered the decision at 4.30pm on Friday.


By Soli Wilson 24 July 2021, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

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