Opposition M.P.s paid but questions linger: Tuilaepa
The leader of the Opposition has confirmed that the members of his party have finally received their salaries this week.
However, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi told the media on Thursday morning that he was kept in the dark about the period their back pay began.
"I only checked yesterday and discovered that we have received our salaries," Tuilaepa said.
"But I want to know the details of the period they started the count from for our back pay.
"You have to keep in mind that there are different cases."
In saying that, Tuilaepa said that different rules apply for the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) members as some of them, including himself, still got paid after the elections, under their roles as Ministers in a caretaker Government which was later declared unlawful by the Court of Appeal.
Then there are other members who were just sworn-in last month.
"So I don't understand how it was applied and where they started the count from."
Attempts have been made to get clarifications from the Minister of Finance, Mulipola Anarosa Ale-Molio'o on the claims from Tuilaepa.
However, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Papali'i Li'o Ta'eu-Masipau in a recent interview with the Samoa Observer confirms that the M.P.'s are entitled to get back pay starting from the day in which the Head of States had officially declared a writ to announce the names of the successful candidates from the April's election.
Last week, Tuilaepa accused the Government for allegedly withholding the salaries of their members one month after they were sworn into Parliament.
He said the alleged action is unbecoming and inappropriate of a leader of the Government and of Cabinet.
While the former part of Government won 25 seats in the April national elections, its numbers on the floor of Parliament have decreased by seven following post-election legal challenges, which resulted in victorious party candidates having their victories voided and seven upcoming by-elections.
Pointing to the seven Parliamentary seats that will be contested in by-elections next month, Tuilaepa said the seats were won by members of the H.R.P.P. but those elected M.P.s were also not paid.
“They have not received their pay but they should get paid,” Tuilaepa said last week.
“Is there anyone who goes to work and does not get paid for it? They have done their work as M.P.s.”
Tuilaepa believed that the Cabinet was withholding their pay because they were “jealous (loto leaga)”.
He could not verify on Thursday whether the seven H.R.P.P. members who initially won in the April's elections but are no longer M.P.s following post-election legal challenges, have received their salaries.
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