The call from the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi was issued initially last Friday to the Samoa Law Society during his remarks to commemorate the first ten years since the Samoa Law Reform Commission was established.
But this week in his weekly television Current Affairs Program, Taimi ma le Palemia, hosted by TV Samoa Tuilaepa reiterated that call but extended his public challenge to other professions noting that it is a moral question and a test for the professionals to practice their respective code of ethics to the letter.
Take for instance, the Samoa Law Society, noted the Prime Minister.
“There are lawyers practising in Samoa who have been de-registered overseas and not allowed to practise there as a result of serious offenses and even severe professional misconduct.
“But the same lawyers are practising in Samoa with total disregard to their past history.
“Ironically, according to my information, the same lawyers have made it a habit to mislead members of the public to sue the government with full knowledge that it’s a lost cause. And in the end, the lawyers walk away as winners pocketing thousands of tala in legal fees.
“But here is the catch and even more disturbing is the fact that it’s your taxes paying for their legal fees because in many cases, the legal aid assistance funded by government is paying for attorney fees to represent clients who cannot afford legal services and representation.”
“Now I ask the Samoa Law Society if there is any justice in that. What happened to integrity and honesty?” continued the Prime Minister. “And at the same time, I challenge the Society to do what is right and lawful.”
To that extent the Prime Minister issued the same challenge to all professional faculties to heed his call.
“Taking affirmative action now will ensure their accountability and will reaffirm their trustworthiness. Failure to do so may compromise the public’s trust,” he warned.
Notably, Prime Minister Tuilaepa is also mindful that should his administration initiates legislate actions to address the issue, critics will have a field day with far-fetched criticisms such as labelling him as a dictator.
“I am a true believer in democracy and in this instance it is the responsibility of these professional organisations who are all educated citizens to honour their respective code of ethics. Failure to do so would confirm my suspicions that not all but some of our professionals are gutless.”