Samoa Opposition Promises To Address Corruption If Elected

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Tautua Samoa decries government’s refusal to act on committee report

By Taina Kami Enoka

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, May 3, 2015) – The Tautua Samoa Party has promised to set up an Anti Corruption Tribunal, if it wins the next elections.

And one of the top priorities, according to the Tautua’s Shadow Minister of Finance, Afualo Dr. Wood Salele, is to take action against public servants found to have been involved in "corrupt practises" by the Audit Office in its report to Parliament.

Last year, the Officers of Parliament Committee recommended to pursue legal action against government officials implicated by their report.

The recommendation followed an investigation by the Committee of a report from the Controller and Auditor General, Fuimaono Camillo Afele, which uncovered a number of discrepancies in the public service.

Afualo said it is important that as Parliaments, they insist on honesty and integrity.

"We were all waiting (for it to happen)," Afualo said about the recommendation by the O.P.C.

"The Prime Minister didn’t do that. That was his decision. It was really sad."

"He said he accepted the recommendation but they would use it as guidelines meaning that that was the end of the case and it would not go to Court."

"And that’s why I am really, really determined to establish an Anti Corruption Tribunal."

According to Afualo, the issues highlighted by the Controller and Chief Auditor’s report are outside the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.

This is why, he said, an Anti- Corruption Tribunal is necessary.

"If Tautua comes to power, this is one of the developments that we will move ahead and do. It will protect us too, our integrity and whoever is chosen to lead."

The Tribunal would look into any complaints or suspicions about a Minister or any others. Any accusations as according to their findings that are proven will end up in court.

"As of now, it’s sad. It is really, really sad. I am determined. It has always been my prayer. I am not afraid to do what is right, what is best for the country for future prosperity and future generations."

Afualo is still trying to cope with the fact that no legal action was taken by the government against the public servants implicated by the O.P.C, especially in relation to claims of collusion to defraud taxpayers.

"They never did it, for whatever reason. We now know it was to cover their backs."

"But hey, no man is an island and no one is above the law. Justice is there for everyone and I believe in that."

But he said the Tribunal was important to establish to protect the integrity of those in Office, and the nation as well.

For the Tautua, Afualo said former Minister of Finance, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga resigned and Tuilaepa probably thought that was enough, without referring it to court.

"But that’s not the case. Even if you resigned, it’s a testament... therefore let the law deal with it.

Do not interfere with it. He will be around to face us, face the music.

I just want to make sure we do the right thing."

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