AG Challenges Swearing In Ceremony in Court

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Papalii Lio takes the oath and is sworn in as Speaker of the House 📷 Jaleen Tupai SGN.

The Attorney General has applied to the Supreme Court to declare the swearing in ceremony held on Monday 24th May 2021 unlawful.

As confirmed by the Chief Executive Officer of MJCA Moliei Simi-Vaai, the Attorney General has filed an application, “for declarations that the purported opening of Parliament and purported swearing-in ceremony are unconstitutional and unlawful”.

The matter of AG v M Latu and Others will be called for first mention tomorrow (Thursday 27th May 2021) before their Honours Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese, Justice Tafaoimalo Tologata Leilani Tuala-Warren, and Justice Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma.

In a press statement Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese affirms the Court’s commitment to ensuring important constitutional issues are given a hearing time as soon as is reasonably possible.

“The Supreme Court has prioritised to resolve urgent constitutional issues which go to the fabric of the maintenance of Samoa’s rule of law”, states the Chief Justice.

The Court has set next Friday 4 June 2021 as a tentative date for the substantive hearing while Thursday’s mention “is to set a timetable for preparatory work for the hearing of this matter”.

In a press release issued immediately after the swearing in ceremony held on Parliament grounds on Monday 24th May where FAST party leader Hon Fiame Naomi Mataafa was sworn in as Prime Minister, the Attorney General had threatened, “persons involved in these unlawful proceedings are subject to civil and criminal prosecution under the law.”

In response former Attorney General Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu said, “the irony of an AG who is professionally inadequate (according to a Supreme Court decision on 17 May 2021 and now a Minute dated 22 May 2021) threatening treason charges against validly appointed Members, Prime Minister and Cabinet and a validly convened Parliament according to law is…frankly..ironic.”