Samoa Cabinet Orders Commission Of Inquiry Into Police Leadership

Acting Prime Minister takes only key to armory to retain control over police arms 

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, Nov. 17, 2016) – Cabinet today confirms that a Commission of Inquiry will review the conduct and performance of Acting Police Commissioner Samoa Mulinu’u Mulinu’u who has been suspended under Section 56 of the Police Service Act 2009.

A statement from Cabinet said “a Commission of Inquiry has also been called, pursuant to section 55(4) of the same Act, to review Samoa’s conduct and performance while undertaking his duties as a Police Officer.

“As relayed in a press statement on Monday, Cabinet has also suspended Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil from his duties, pending a court decision on new charges against him.  Those charges, originally brought by Samoa Police, have now been transferred to the National Prosecution for processing and action.

“The Police Service Act states that an Inquiry may be called in to the performance or capacity of a Commissioner or Assistant Commissioner.

“Cabinet has also confirmed that the work of the Commission of Inquiry will subsequently extend to a thorough review of Samoa Police activities and services.  The Inquiry will assess any breaches of duty or incapacity and will review behaviour that has negatively affected the confidence of the community in the Police Service.  This review by the Commission of Inquiry will take place at a later date, as decided upon by Cabinet.

“Cabinet has also reaffirmed protocols for the request, use and safekeeping of firearms by Samoa Police.  Any request and approval of the use of firearms must be considered first by the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney General and Director of the National Prosecution Office.

“The duties of the Police Commissioner will be rotated amongst serving Assistant Commissioners until further notice,” the statement ended.

[PIR editor's note: On Nov. 18, 2016 Samoa Observer reported that 'Acting Police Commissioner, Lei’ataua Fata Aviga, has denied claims the government has lost confidence in the Ministry’s handling of firearms. ... In confirming that the keys to armoury have been confiscated by the Acting Prime Minister, Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama, Lei’ataua said this done as a precautionary measure. ... He denied suggestions that perhaps Cabinet feared the worst following the developments at the Police station on Monday.']

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