Samoa’s former Deputy Electoral Commissioner, Faumui Afualo Daryl Mapu, found guilty of possession of narcotics and illegal firearms in September this year has been handed a prison sentence of one year and six months.
Afualo was convicted after a defended judge-only week-long hearing in July.
Afualo had maintained his innocence and says the drugs, ammunition and firearms belonged to someone who was renting the upper floor of his home.
Police found in an upstairs bedroom of Afualo’s home, two glass pipes, one 9mm pistol, one 22 pistol semi automatic, one 357 magnum pistol revolver, one 12 gauge shotgun break single action barrel, one 22 rifle semi-automatic, twenty three live rounds 9mm and four 22 live rounds calibre.
In one of the pockets of the shorts Afualo was wearing Police found a small bag containing 5 plastic bags of white substance, confirmed by SROS to be methamphetamine weighing 1.6 grams in total.
In sentencing Justice Tuala-Warren said it was an aggravating factor that both a Class A narcotic and firearms were found in the home of the accused which he shares with his wife and two children.
“The combination of those items in a family home is aggravating..
“The existence of glass pipes leads me to infer that he is a user. This drug commonly known as ‘ice’ which was found on him is highly addictive and destructive,” states the Supreme Court justice.
Tafaoimalo said the quantity of methamphetamine found on the accused was not insignificant.
“The increasing prevalence of this drug in Samoa. The impact on society cannot be understated.”
The Court also found it aggravating that Afualo was a Senior public servant.
“That position entails one of service to the community, and the community has a legitimate expectation that public servants are not involved in drugs and firearms,” states the ruling.
Comaprisons were made to previous cases:
“It is evident from these cases that custodial sentences are the norm when dealing with class A narcotics, regardless of the quantity, given its penalty of life imprisonment and in an effort to stop the influx of this dangerous narcotic into Samoa.”
Justice Tuala-Warren referred to numerous supporting letters from Afualo’s wife, his mother, faifeau and pulenuu as well as former colleagues, all stating that this is out of character for him and they’d be willing to help him if he does not get a custodial sentence.
“Afualo’s wife told Probation that the he is hard working and she depended on his salary for their children’s education, to pay their mortgage and for the many family obligations.She says he is active in their village and church activities..
“Afualo’s mother written in has support saying that he is a helpful and loving son, and confirms a penalty was paid and presented to the village council.”
The Court took three years imprisonment as a starting point for possession of narcotics.
“I deduct 6 months for his personal circumstances, 6 months for his village penalty and for his contribution to society I deduct 6 months”.
“The accused is convicted of possession of narcotics, namely 1.6g of methamphetamine, and sentenced to 1 year and 6 months imprisonment..
“For possession of utensils, namely two glass pipes, he is convicted and sentenced to five months imprisonment to be served concurrently..
“For possession of unlawful weapons, namely one 9mm pistol, one 22 pistol semi automatic, and one 357 magnum pistol revolver he is convicted and sentenced to 9 months imprisonment to be served concurrently..
“For possession of unregistered firearms, namely one 12 gauge shotgun break single action barrel and one 22 rifle semi-automatic he is convicted and sentenced to 3 months imprisonment to be served concurrently..
“For possession of unlawful ammunitions, namely twenty three live rounds 9mm, he is convicted and sentenced to 9 months imprisonment to be served concurrently..
“Finally for possession of ammunitions without permit, namely four 22 live rounds calibre without permit, he is convicted and sentenced to 3 months imprisonment to be served concurrently.”
Afualo has told probabtion that he is innocent and will be appealing the convictions against him.