Deputy Ombudsman Found Guilty, Lawyer to Apply for Discharge Without Conviction

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Samoa’s Deputy Ombudsman, Maualaivao Pepe Maualaivao Seiuli, found guilty in the District Court for abusing a fellow matai during a village council meeting, will be applying for a discharge without conviction before sentencing.

The Deputy Ombudsman’s lawyer, Su’a Alex Su’a last Friday requested a copy of the written decision which had been handed down orally by Senior District Court judge Talasa Atoa.

Lawyer Su’a Alex Su’a.

Su’a Alex Su’a made his client’s intentions clear and said a written copy of the Court decision was needed for his application for a discharge without conviction.

The Deputy Ombudsman has been found guilty of assault for lashing abuse towards businessman and former Member of Parliament, Maualaivao Patelesio Pat Ah Him.

The incident dates back to 2020, when election candidates were being discussed in a village council meeting of Malie, and Maualaivao Pat Ah Him had expressed his interest to run in the April 2021 General Election.

Former MP and Associate Minister of Health, Maualaivao Patelesio Ah Him.

The landmark case sees the actions of chiefly matai during Village Council meetings clashing with the rule of law.

Maualaivao Pat Ah Him ran the 9 April 2021 general election as an Independent, and polled in 2nd place to Seiuli Ueligitone Seiuli who was the village’s preferred candidate. An election petition was then filed by Maualaivao Patelesio against Seiuli Ueligitone, which led to Sagaga 2 vacating its seat, and both Malie matai being disqualified from running elections for the 10 year stand-down period.

When he was first charged, the Deputy Ombudsman who leads his village council meetings, had told Samoa Global News there were heated discussions in the months prior to the general election.

Maualaivao Pepe Seiuli said the village council of Malie wanted to back Seiuli Ueligitone Seiuli as its single candidate.  The village of Malie was angered by Maualaivao Pat Ah Him for running against the village’s endorsed candidate and the election petition that followed caused Malie to lose the Parliamentary seat.

Maualaivao Pat Ah Him who has since been banished from Malie, continued the fight in Court as a matter of principle – on the premise that it is his right as a matai of Malie to compete in the general election and represent his village and constituency.

The insulting words were harsh in that they referred to the chiefly status of Maualaivao Pat Ah Him and had also touched on the roots of his genealogy.

In the meantime and in a separate law suit in the Supreme Court, Maualaivao Pat Ah Him has filed a $1.8 million tala law suit against four government ministries, and former officials including long serving Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

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The former Human Rights Protection Party MP who had previously served as Associate Minister of Health under Tuilaepa’s government told Samoa Global News in an interview that the basis of his application now before the Courts, is the lack of action taken by the Ministries and Government Agencies towards a police complaint he had filed against Maualaivao Pepe Seiuli.

The law suit is against the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Ministry of Police, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Office of the Ombudsman.