Three Lands and Titles Court Judges Removed following Investigation

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The services of three suspended Lands and Titles Court Judges will be brought to an end following an investigation led by former Samoa Attorney General Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu.

In a press release yesterday afternoon the secretary of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and CEO of the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration (MJCA) Mrs. Moliei Simi Vaai confirmed that the appointments of Deputy President Sevealii Panapa Vee and Judge Nanai Pologa Ioane are revoked. The appointment of Senior Judge Lavea Siaosi Hazelman is reinstated until his term expires on 23 December 2019, however the decision states that there shall be no extension thereafter.

The investigation was completed under the umbrella of the Judicial Complaints Committee (JCC) with the final report presented to the Chairman and members of the JSC last week.

Sevealii Panapa Levi

According to statement by Mrs Moliei the decision to revoke two of the judges and not renew the third judge was then made by the JSC at its meeting last Thursday, 24 October 2019.

“The JSC finalised its decision based on findings and recommendations of the JCC in its report.”

“His Highness, the Head of State at the advice of the JSC signed and endorsed the decision to complete this matter on Monday, 28 October 2019.”

The press statement did not outline the reasons of the deicion nor give the key findings of the investigation.

Nanai Pologa Ioane

The decision is published in verbatim as follows:

“Sevealii Panapa Vee’s appointment as a Samoan Judge and Deputy President of the Lands and Titles Court is revoked under s29(4) and s27(2) of the LTC Act 1981. His service is permanently terminated”.

“Nanai Pologa Ioane’s appointment as a Samoan Judge of the Lands and Titles Court and as a Faamasino Fesoasoani of the Samoa District Court is revoked under s29(4) of the LTC Act 1981 and s10(3) of the District Courts Act 2016 respectively. His service is permanently terminated”.

“Lavea Siaosi Hazelman’s appointment as Samoan Judge of the Lands and Titles Court is reinstated under s29(1) of the LTC Act 1981 until his term of office expires on 23 December 2019 with no extension thereafter”.

The press release states that all Judges were served with the decision yesterday, 28 October 2019.