Senior Samoa MP Resigns After Forgery Conviction

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Ah Him apologizes to PM, party, and constituency

By Lance Polu

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, Feb. 20, 2015) – A senior MP for the ruling Human Rights Protection Party has resigned. Muagututagata Peter Ah Him who has represented Sagaga le Usoga constituency for ten years, caught the Parliament by surprise this afternoon when in the middle of the debate of the controversial Investment and Citizenship Bill, the MP tendered his resignation in a ten minute address.

Muagututagata apologized to the PM and the ruling party as well as parliament for what he said "is an issue well known" and he has made a decision to step down as a member of parliament. He also apologized to his constituency if he had erred as their representative and that he has come to his decision after deep consideration.

[PIR editor’s note: Early in February Muagututagata Peter Ah Him was found guilty of forgery.]

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi accepted the MPs resignation and acknowledged his contribution as an MP and wished him well and his family in his future endevours.

Leader of the Opposition Palusalue Faapo 11 said the resignation has caught him and everyone by surprise and also acknowledged the MPs contribution during his time as an MP.

Muagututagata’s older brother, Maualaivao Pat Ah Him who represents the Individual Voters also apologized to Parliament asking for forgiveness for any of Muagututagata’s shortfalls.

Parliament had a hard start after the surprise resignation and led to a long debate when the Leader of the Opposition proposed to postpone for another day.

Parliament however passed the second reading of the Investment and Citizenship Bill which is now being referred to the Select Parliamentary Committee to report back to Parliament for the third and final reading.

The Opposition Leader was concerned that he and other opposition MPs had not spoken on the Bill but the Speaker said that the Bill has been debated for three days and that the MPs also have the opportunity in the committee stages where the Bill will be further screened and when every line of the Bill be read in the third reading.

As an MP, Muagututagata has had several issues with the law that started with the Red Cross Society when he was President and when he and the Deputy Prime Minister were charged last year for traffic offences and interfering with the work of the police.

He is due to be sentenced next Monday on a separate case after he was convicted of forgery in the Supreme Court.

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