Samoa’s AG commends “brave officers”

The recommendations by a Cabinet appointed Commission of Inquiry to terminate the services of two senior police officers, reaffirms that due diligence coupled with transparency and accountability is very much alive in government.

Chaired by retired Supreme Court Judge Lesatele Rapi Vaai, the commission has recommended for Assistant Police Commissioner Samoa Mulinu’u’s services in the force to be terminated.

The Commission also found Inspector Luatimu Samau guilty of misconduct and even though he has resigned, the Commission found sufficient evidence for Inspector Samau’s services to be terminated.

And the Commission’s recommendation is commendable.

“The results of this open and public Commission of Inquiry, is a clear endorsement on the Cabinet decision to affect the suspensions and start this commission,” said Attorney General Lemalu Herman Retzlaff.

“Where fundamental matters which are the key to the administration of justice are affected such as the alleged interference with witnesses in criminal proceedings, there must be proper action in response from government as to accountability.”

Lemalu also praised the “brave officers” who stood up for justice, according to a government statement.

“The brave officers, who undertook part in the investigations and give evidence, are in my respectful view commended,” complimented the AG.

Cabinet will decide the fate of the two senior officers.

In the meantime and on a related matter, changes will now be implemented on how government will deal with serious allegations of breach of duties by police officers, says Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi.

“From past experiences, government has noticed the blatant ignorance by certain senior police officers taking for granted the due diligence process put in place to recognize and respect their rights by calling Commission of Inquiries to investigate the shortcomings within our Police Force.

“And after a number of Commission of Inquiries, Cabinet had hoped it would have identified and address discrepancies within the police force but this apparently has not been the case,” elaborated the Prime Minister.

“To that extend, a new procedure approved by Cabinet is now in place on how government will deal with serious breaches of conduct and behavior within our police ranks.”

The current law change for Commissions of Inquiries gives Cabinet an alternative option in the future. 

The first is the current position, where an officer is suspended, and the commission is formed to undertake the full public hearings.

The new option will see Minister of Police acting on a complaint, and decides if a breach of specific duties is warranted.

If so, the Minister must then give the person alleged to have committed the breach the opportunity to present his or her side by submitting written submission in response to the allegations.

Once that is completed, the Cabinet can, without the need for a full commission of inquiry, make a decision as to a suspension and or dismissal.

“The second option will not only save costs but is more effective and efficient and at the same time, protects the interest of government and the accused,” noted Prime Minister Tuilaepa.

“The new option will retain the ability to launch these types of Inquiries in the future and it has also now given a second option to government,” said Lemalu who advised Cabinet. 

“This is understood to be motivated by the fact there have been several costly consecutive Commissions now with what can be perceived as a subsequent lack of deterrence from ongoing breaches of duty, and no actual institutional change.”


Photo by MPMC