5 July 2021 Mulinuu Apia Samoa. Tafua Maluelue Tafua who is a senior member of the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) has been cleared of five charges of bribery and five of treating brought against him in a counter petition by HRPP elected candidate for Aleipata Itupa i Lalo Fiugalu Eteuati Eteuati.
However, 21 charges against Fiugalu of bribery and treating was confirmed by the Supreme Court on Monday afternoon.
Tafua had been asked by HRPP to consider withdrawing his petition against the youngest elected HRPP member at the April 9th general election, however, he pursued and has now successfully knocked another HRPP out of race, in the closest election results ever recorded in Samoa’s history.
The decision was delivered by Justice Lesatele Rapi Vaai with Justice Niava Mata Tuatagaloa presiding.
Tafua did not want to speak to the media outside Court saying he is not certain if would be running again or not.
“E leai se tala e fai atua ona e leiloa pe ou te toe tauva i nei mea o faigapalota.”
Fiugalu polled a close 805 to Tafua’s 777 in a district where Tafua holds the highest chiefly title in the land
Fiugalu outside Court thanked the people of Aleipata-Itupa-i-Lalo who came to support him and await the decision, saying he accepted the judgment of the court.
“Faafetai atu mo le tapuaiga i lenei aso ae o le a lava le faaiuga ua tuuina mai ou te talia ma le agaga maualalo.”
Clearly the more mature of the two HRPP candidates, Fiugalu walked over to Tafua after the decision was read out in Court and congratulated him for winning the battle.
“Faamalo le onosai ma ou te faamalo foi I lau afioga o lea ua manuia lau taumafaiga e ala i le faamasinoga i le aso, ole a tapuai ae alo i ou faiva aua se manuia ole itumalo.”
Aleipata-Itupa-i-Lalo will now return to the polls for a by-election. The fourth since petitions started. The first being HRPPs Seiuli who lost his seat to a former HRPP Associate Minister and two HRPP lawyers, Tuisa Tasi Patea and Aveau Leota Tima Leavai who chose to resign.