Opposition Party files legal claim to dissolve Samoa’s Caretaker Government

A claim to dissolve the caretaker government under the leadership of Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi is now before the Court, and is scheduled to be heard on 22 February 2016.

The claim according to Tautua Samoa shadow Minister of Finance, Afualo Dr. Wood Salele was only possible after Parliament was dissolved.

He said under section 32 and 33 of the Samoa Constitution, when a Cabinet Minister resigns before the end of his term, then the rest of the Cabinet must resign after the Parliament is dissolved, and allow the Head of State to select a Caretaker Government.

According to Afualo the Minister of Finance Faumuina Tiatia Liuga resigned for “corrupt actions” and even though it did not go to Court, he believes the reasons for resignation were based on the findings of the Committee of Parliament that investigated the alleged corruption accusations.

Parliament was dissolved last week and Afualo said he knew Tuilaepa and his Cabinet will never resign hence Tautua’s claim in Court.

The claim was filed by the Brunt Law Firm on behalf of Tautua Samoa.

Meanwhile, members of the public have referred to his “dry and wicked humour” and the Prime Minister has lightly brushed aside the Opposition Tautua Samoa Party’s legal action for Court to declare void the Caretaker Government led by Tuilaepa as it “does not have the legal capacity to conduct the executive functions of the Government of Samoa.”

The motion filed 10 February, also seeks a restraining order for Cabinet ministers and the former Minister of Finance, Faumuinā Tiatia Liuga who resigned as Minister in 2014, from being candidates of the 4 March 2016 general elections.

The motion centers on Section 32 (1) of the Constitution and the doctrine of “collective responsibility” that has been violated when the Minister of Finance resigned in 2014.

But Prime Minister Tuilaepa has laughed off the motion saying he will counter sue the Tautua MPs including its leader, a (former) Judge, a (former) Police officer, a university lecturer for “$100 billion for governments’ development projects,” and a pair of coconuts (taulua popo) each to feed his chickens.

But one Opposition member will be spared. He is the Deputy Leader Ae’au Peniamina “as he looks sick but we just had another Ae’au (Taulupo’o) who I wanted to be appointed (to the Council of Deputies) but has been called early,” according to Tuilaepa.

He said Cabinet Ministers have resigned before. “Some were forced to and this (provision of the Constitution) has always been there. But the MPs then were very smart,” said Tuilaepa.

“A Cabinet Minister resigned in 1972, and another one in 1975,” said Tuilaepa.

Former Minister of Finance Faumuinā Tiatia Liuga resigned after midnight in a late Parliament sitting in April 2014. He had been under pressure for a long time from within caucus who wrote and signed a letter to Tuilaepa amidst the Report of the Controller and Chief Auditor that pointed out corrupt activities that were later investigated by a parliamentary committee.

“He resigned on his own freewill,” Tuilaepa said of Faumuinā’s resignation. “And Government has already dealt with the issues raised.”

The Tautua motion also wants the Head of State to appoint a new Caretaker Government.

Talamua understands that a delegation from Tautua has met the Head of State on the issue.