Elected MP Changes Lawyers, Petition for Aana Alofi 2 to Continue After Failed Negotiations

Lolomatauama and Aiono outside Court with their supporters. 📷 Loreta Kelemete.

Wednesday 14 July 2021, Mulinuu, Apia Samoa.  An electoral petition brought by woman candidate for Aana Alofi 2, Lolomatauama Eseta Faalata Mataituli against son of former Speaker of the House Aiono Afaese Toloafoa will continue in the Supreme Court after unsuccessful out-of-court negotiations between the two parties.

On Monday when the matter was first called for hearing, Counsels applied for an adjournment to complete the details of an agreement between Lolomatauama and Aiono.

Outside Court on Monday tensions were high between members of the constituency as orators deliberated with both parties, seeking to have the matter withdrawn for the sake of peace.  On Monday Aiono said they had come to withdraw, however, terms of agreement had been misunderstood, and they would look to further discussions overnight.

However when the matter was called again in Court on Tuesday morning, Lolomatauama stood by her position, that her condition of withdrawing is for Aiono to resign as an elected Member of Parliament, and to also agree not to run in a by-election, or any other election for the next five years. The misunderstanding seemed to be that Aiono had agreed to resign and not run in the resulting by-election, but did not agree to stay away from any subsequent by-elections which may arise in the next five years.

Aiono then requested a change of Counsel to represent him, submitted through Counsel Afa Lesa of Aumua Law who confirmed that he would be stepping down as the lawyer for Aiono.

On Wednesday morning former criminal prosecutor for the Office of the Attorney General, agele Leone Sua-Mailo appeared for Aiono.  Aiono’s new Counsel was granted a request to return the matter to mentions, to set a new hearing date.

At the April 9th general election, Aiono Afaese Toleafoa, an established businessman in Samoa polled 520 votes to Lolomatauama’s 292 is a five-candidate race where there were three HRPP, one Tautua Samoa and the single woman candidate representing FAST.