AG and Clerk of the House Suspended by Government

"I have formed a preliminary view that I do not have trust or confidence in her ability to discharge the functions of that Constitutional office.”

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The Prime Minister Hon Fiame Naomi Mataafa, has confirmed that two of the country’s top Public Servants; Attorney General Savelenoa Mareva Betham Annandale, and the Clerk of the House of Parliament Tiatia Lima Graeme Tualaulelei, have each been suspended.

A single press statement released this afternoon from the Office of the PM, confirmed that both suspensions were effective from last Friday 20 August 2021 and will be in place until 3 September 2021.

The PM confirmed that the AG was suspended “on the basis that I have formed a preliminary view that I do not have trust or confidence in her ability to discharge the functions of that Constitutional office.”

Similarly the PM confirmed that the Speaker of the House of Parliament advised her that he had suspended the Clerk having also “formed a preliminary view that he has no trust and confidence that the Clerk can undertake his functions in supporting and administering the country’s Parliament or the duties required of him by Standing Orders.”

The statement does not give any further details on the grounds for suspension, however, it does confirm that both the AG and the Clerk were given the reasons for their respective suspensions in their letters of Notice.

In a press release also issued Saturday morning, the leader of the opposition, Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi, suggested that he was already aware of the AG’s suspension.

“I just heard yesterday that the Attorney General has been suspended, and I’m not surprised as she was one of those on top of their list of “heads that will roll”, said Tuilaepa. 

According to the HRPP press statement, the Attorney General “was told her suspension was because of her challenging the tent swearing in of FAST members on 24 May, 2021″.

“I am afraid many more top officials will be sent packing for not towing the FAST line and I predict that will be the beginning of the end for them,” said Tuilaepa.

Prime Minister Fiame in her statement confirms that both senior public servants have been given the opportunity to formally reply to the reasons outlined to them in their notices of suspension, about the manner in which they have performed their roles.

“Once a response is received, I will have regard to the material provided by the AG before making a final decision on her continued tenure of a role that lies at the heart of lawful and orderly government in Samoa and in most democratic countries of the world.”

The Prime Minister also states the Speaker will consider a reply from the Clerk before a final decision is made about his service.

The press release did not mention who may be Acting as Attorney General or Clerk of the House during the suspensions.

Fiame concludes that her Government cannot properly transition into government if they cannot rely upon the Public Service “performing its functions and duties in an efficient, professional, effective and apolitical manner so that we can achieve the goals we have set for our people.”

“I have faith that all who are willing to work diligently according to the agreed Public Service values and Code of Conduct, in order to achieve those goals, will be respected and valued for that commitment by my government, and especially by the people of Samoa,” states the PM.