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Family must now leave home village

By Marieta Heidi Ilalio

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, April 4, 2009) - Former Cabinet Minister Vaiotu Mulitalo Siafausa Vui, his wife and children have been given a week to leave Vaimoso.

This was the ruling delivered by the Land and Titles Court yesterday over the longstanding dispute between Vaiotu Mulitalo and Ali’i ma Faipule (village council) of Vaimoso.

Delivered by the Vice President of the Land and Titles Court, Fuimaono Nonu, the ruling comes after months of discord between the two parties.

Outside court, a visibly disappointed Vaiotu, a former Minister of Health and Communications, declined to comment.

"I have nothing to say," he said, as he was led away by disappointed family members.

A multitude of Vaimoso villagers who turned up at the Court were happy.

Paramount chief, To’oma’augaune Kelekolio II said the decision was God’s answer to their prayers.

"It’s not a decision the village should be proud of," he said. "But thanks should be given to God for meting justice and revealing the truth that the village has long awaited.

"We will return to our village and give thanks to God."

To’oma’agaune said the ruling basically upheld their village decision to ban Vaiotu.

Two weeks ago, a traditional apology (ifoga) presented by the family of Vaiotu, in a bid to patch things up, was rejected.

The village council through a high-ranking matai (chief) insisted that the former Cabinet Minister leave the village.

Vaiotu’s offenses appear to be a string of indiscrepancies committed within his wife’s village, the Vaimoso village council claimed.

Thirteen years ago, Vaiotu was ostracised because he called a village meeting which he did not have the authority to do.

Recently, a village spokesperson said he took part in the bestowal of the Manuleleua title on three persons. Again as a Vaiotu, especially one married into the village, he acted beyond his authority.

He has also been accused of brandishing a gun over a land dispute last year.

Last month, Vaiotu was banished from Vaimoso for "unfounded" statements he made to the media concerning the reason for his ostracism in 1999.

But he refused to leave.

The village council then decided to mete a punishment called mu le foaga, where one’s house and belongings are burned.

Fortunately for Vaiotu, ministers of religion and police intervened, after which the matter was referred to the court.

When the matter was brought before the Land and Titles Court on Friday 13 March, Judge Misa Pita advised both parties to reconcile.

This led to the ifoga that was rejected.

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