Samoan PM before parliamentary committee

Samoa's Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa has appeared before a parliamentary committee to explain an agreement she signed with the opposition leader to discontinue a contempt of court case.

She told the Samoa Observer she disputed the contention by Opposition Leader Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi the so-called Harmony Agreement also settles other differences between the two parties outside of court.

She explained the legal document she had signed was a "deed of settlement" and was specifically intended to discontinue the contempt of court matter.

The court found Tuilaepa and secretary of his HRPP party, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi, guilty of contempt of court but decided, in the spirit of the Harmony Agreement, not to impose any penalties.

An HRPP supporter and senior lawyer, Maiava Visekota Peteru, was also found guilty of contempt and also faced no penalty.

Tuilaepa and Lealailepule have been accused in an official complaint by Deputy Prime Minister Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio of making statements that have brought Parliament into disrepute.

The pair are currently being investigated by the Parliamentary Privileges and Ethics Committee.

"In my view as the leader of the party and as a Member of Parliament, this will be used as a justification for misbehaviour and it is not right because it was not intended for this," Tuilaepa said.