Samoa MP Threatens To Sue TV Station For Defamation

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Levaopolo was acquitted on customs violations exposed in media

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, April 23, 2014) – TVOne could face a $3 million [US$1.3 million] law suit if fails to pay $720,000 [US$305,00] to Gaga’emauga No.2. Member of Parliament Levaopolo Talatonu Vaai by this Friday 25 April 2014.

"The $720,000 claim is on the defamation and damaging of my name," Levaopolo told Talamua.

“If by Friday they have not paid up, then we are suing them for $3 million tālā.”

He explained that the $3 million will cover the defamation against his district, family, his business and discrediting parliament.

"My lawyer Te’o Richard Tapeni has already lodged our civil claim in Court," said Levaopolo.

"They need to pay this amount within 14 days from the day they were served with the summon."

Levaopolo told Talamua he decided to give TV1 a chance to pay what he called ‘this peanuts amount’ "as their TV news item ruined my reputation and that of my business".

Levaopolo said on Facebook alone, criticism against him and Judge Mata Tuatagaloa who presided over his case have been mounting by the day.

According to Levaopolo, people judged him based on TV1 news item that he sold the smuggled bottle of whiskies to a businessman at Lotopa.

"They even showed a picture of me next to a container on TV," said Levaopolo.

This is just one of several law suits Levaopolo is working on which include action against other local media outlets emanating from when the MP and an employee at his freight company were charged by Customs.

Levaopolo was acquitted of ten charges of falsifying documents with the intention to defraud and mislead the Ministry of Custom.

TVOne is owned Samoa Quality Broadcasting Ltd.

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