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APIA, Samoa (April 14, 1999 - PACNEWS)---A minor reshuffle in Samoa’s Cabinet has resulted in Gafa Ioelu Elisaia being named the new Minister responsible for the Department of Post Office and Telecommunications.

Gafa was sworn-in this week, returning the Cabinet, following the death of former Prime Minister Tofilau Eti Alesana last month, to its full complement of 12 ministers.

Gafa takes over from Leafa Vitale, who assumed the portfolio after the 1996 general election.

Leafa once was one of the most powerful of Samoa’s ministers, holding the portfolios of Public Works and the Electric Power Corporation, but was shifted to lesser posts, it was speculated, because he did not get on well with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

About his appointment, Gafa said "I was very surprised this morning when the leader of the Government informed me that I was chosen as a minister and that I will be sworn in this afternoon."

Gafa said he was the under-secretary for the department and knows where improvements are needed.

A former school teacher and public servant, Gafa entered Parliament in a by-election in 1996.

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