8 July 2021, Apia Samoa. The Samoa media were sent copies of formal complaints made by HRPP towards leaders and members of the FAST party including their lawyers alleging their participation in the 24th May 2021 swearing-in ceremony and actions thereafter, constitutes criminal behaviour.
The letters were signed by the HRPP party Secretary Leailepule Rimoni Aiafi who asked that they be distributed to the Samoa media on Wednesday afternoon via the Government Press Secretariat.
“I was asked by HRPP Secretary, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi to share with the media the following complaints filed by the Party with the Ministry of Police & Prisons, the Judiciary Services Commission and Samoa Law Society”.
The basis of the allegations by HRPP are in relation to a swearing-in ceremony held by elected FAST members when Parliament did not convene on Monday 24th May 2021, as called by the Head of State in a proclamation dated 20 May 2021.
FAST party lawyers stated the ‘doctrine of necessity’ as the reason behind moving ahead with the swearing in, conducted under a tent on Parliament grounds on the 45th day since Samoa’s April 9th general election. The Supreme Court had on Sunday 23rd May, upheld Samoa’s Parliament had to convene by the 45th day according to Article 52 of the Constitution.
The confusion and uncertainty was created when the Head of State of Samoa issued two proclamations within 48 hours. When asked, the Supreme Court upheld the Head of State’s call to convene Parliament, and declared void a proclamation dated 22 May 2021, purporting to suspend his earlier decision “for reasons I will make known in due course.”
In response to a challenge by Samoa’s Attorney General, the swearing in ceremony was declared unconstitutional, unlawful and therefore void by the Supreme Court, who then also ordered Parliament to convene within 7 days, or they would return to reconsider the application of the ‘doctrine of necessity’ argued by FAST.
The police complaint by HRPP is based on actions taken by FAST leaders and all 26 elected members not only during the swearing-in ceremony but mostly afterwards when holding themselves out to be the Government.
HRPP calls for FAST party founder Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt to be charged for he “consistently incited members of the public to be hostile, violent and to rise up against the Government of Samoa”.
Lealailepule also calls for Laauli to be held accountable for a statement he made on an EFKS TV show calling for fake page administrators “tagata ia e faia mea nei” to be taken to a field “malae” and have lights turned onto them, “ki iai moli” and then have untitled men come and see what would be done to them “vaai poo lea le mea e fai iai”. The statement has since been interpreted by HRPP as Laauli calling for women to be taken to the field at “Tiafau”, with the reference to untitled men interpreted as allowing them to “have their way” or perform violent sexual acts on them. Interpretations which Laauli immediately came forward to strongly deny, while the issue of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) continues to be politicized.
“I request that charges be brought against him for such incitement and insulting words against the treatment of women that he identifies as HRPP supporters”.
HRPP allege Laaulis words “are demeaning insulting and suggest the defilement or rape of HRPP women supporters” adding, “Many women have lodged complaints with us against the depraved thoughts expressed by Laauli, which imply abuse if not rape, of women”.
HRPP allege FAST had tried to overthrow the government causing distress to the country.
“I respectfully advise that based on the illegal swearing in ceremony several acts occurred which may amount to an attempt to take over the Government of Samoa :
“Between the 24th May 2021 and 28th June, the leaders and members of FAST held themselves out to be the “new and official Government of Samoa.”
“FAST Leaders held themselves out to be Prime Minister Elect, Deputy Prime Minister, Speaker of the House and Ministers of Cabinet”.
HRPP further allege that FAST’s insistence they move out of Office with a 48 hour notice not only enticed violence, but ruined Samoa’s reputation internationally.
“On Wednesday, 10th June 2021 Hon. Laauli threatened and incited violence by use of the words “sunu’i le ala o taua” and ”…e le toe fia vaai i aso la…i le toto masa’a!” after giving the Government 48 hours”.
HRPPs criminal complaint even touches on Hon. Fiame Naomi issuing press releases overseas “seeking international intervention and recognition from the Governments of New Zealand Australia and other Pacific nations”.
“Such actions have diminished the reputation of the Government of Samoa internationally and have caused irreparable damage locally and internationally”, writes Lealailepule.
The Supreme Court’s consequential judgment on the swearing-in now being called the ‘tail’ by HRPP, is expected to be handed down by the Supreme Court this week.
In the meantime, Samoa has had a Sunday 4th July proclamation set down by the Head of State that sets out technicalities as to why Parliament cannot convene, saying there is no clear majority, and Parliament must wait for all election petitions and by-elections to be completed. The Head of State has called Parliament to convene on Monday 2nd August 2021, but adds that if matters are not resolved by that date, then he would ‘consider other options’ available to him.
FAST party lawyers and the Samoa Law Society have been asked for a response to the allegations made in the letters.
The official complaint by HRPP to Police is published below in verbatim.
P.O. Box 3429 Apia Samoa
2 July 2021
Afioga Fuiavailiili Egon Keil
Commissioner of Police
OFFICIAL POLICE COMPLAINT
My purpose in writing is to give notice of a complaint arising out of the recent decision by the Supreme Court delivered on Monday 28 June 2021. The Court clearly stated that the 24th May 2021 “swearing in” under the tent outside Parliament by FAST Party members and their legal advisers, is “unconstitutional, unlawful and therefore deemed void and of no effect”.
Complaint against Matafeo George Latu and Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu
- On behalf of members of HRPP, I respectfully lodge a formal police complaint against Matafeo George Latu and Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu given that they were instrumental and took the lead in advising the FAST Party leaders and members to conduct the unlawful swearing in ceremony.It is clear that under the Constitution of Samoa and the Standing Orders of Parliament, no other persons are legally authorized to conduct such a ceremony. These are roles that are exclusive to the Head of State, Clerk of the House and others as stipulated in the provisions of the Constitution of the Independent State of Samoa 1962.
Complaint against Papalii Ta’eu Masipa’u
2. I wish to file a formal complaint against Papalii Ta’eu Masepau for assuming the role of Speaker of the House and for swearing in all the members of FAST. Despite Papalii Ta’eu being a senior lawyer himself, he also acted in breach of the Constitution and Standing Orders of Parliament as the Supreme Court found in its ruling.
Complaint against Hon. Fiame Naomi Mataafa and Laauli Leuatea Schmidt
3. A further formal complaint is lodged against the leaders of FAST, Afioga Fiame Naomi and her deputy, Laauli Schmidt for being instigators and inciting people to participate in the swearing in.
4. Hon Laauli Leuatea has consistently incited members of the public to be hostile, violent and to rise up against the Government of Samoa, and I request that charges be brought against him for such incitement and insulting words against the treatment of women that he identifies as HRPP supporters.
Complaint against FAST members and other Legal Counsel
5. Finally I lodge a formal complaint against “all” FAST members who were sworn in and other legal counsel assisting, Fauolo Harry Schuster, Precious Chang, Muriel Lui, Tuala Ponifasio and associates who were parties and willingly participated in this unconstitutional “swearing in ceremony.”
6. I respectfully advise that based on the illegal swearing in ceremony several acts occurred which may amount to an attempt to take over the Government of Samoa :
– Between the 24th May 2021 and 28th June, the leaders and members of FAST held themselves out to be the “new and official Government of Samoa.”
– FAST Leaders held daily “LIVE” press Conferences with banners that stated “Government of Samoa.” All of these are available on YOUTUBE and the FAST FB pages.
– FAST Leaders held themselves out to be Prime Minister Elect, Deputy Prime Minister, Speaker of the House and Ministers of Cabinet.
– Hon. Fiame Naomi issued several press releases overseas seeking international intervention and recognition from the Governments of New Zealand Australia and other Pacific nations.
– Such actions have diminished the reputation of the Government of Samoa internationally and have caused irreparable damage locally and internationally.
– FAST leaders continued to act as though they were the legally appointed Government of Samoa and have purposely used the force of media, LIVE announcements to attempt the overthrow of the Government of Samoa.
– FAST leaders have undermined the current caretaker Government by threatening that they were “in transition”and by issuing a 48 hour notice for the caretaker Government to leave its offices.
– On Wednesday, 10th June 2021 Hon. Laauli threatened and incited violence by use of the words “sunu’i le ala o taua” and ”…e le toe fia vaai i aso la…i le toto masa’a!” after giving the Government 48 hours notice to leave Government Buildings. He used these words in an interview to the media and the video is available on several media channels.
– On Wednesday 23rd June 2021, Laauli Leuatea insisted on a LIVE broadcast that he is taking note of “Teine Samoa” and other female bloggers /supporters of HRPP and that he would have them brought out to the malae (at Tiafau) and would place them under bright lights and then release the ‘aumaga of Malietoa and Sa Tupua to do as they wish to these women. These words are demeaning insulting and suggest the defilement or rape of HRPP women supporters. Many women have lodged complaints with us against the depraved thoughts expressed by Laauli, which imply abuse if not rape, of women.
– FAST leaders continually refused to peacefully negotiate a settlement of all outstanding issues between the HRPP and FAST.
- There are various other acts performed by the leaders of the FAST Party which have undeniably been performed with the sole purpose of overthrowing the Government of Samoa and appear to be treasonous. We have video footage should you require evidence.
- I respectfully request your most urgent attention in filing relevant charges against Hon. Fiame Naomi, Laauli Polataivao Schmidt, Olo Levaopolo Vaai, Faumui Wayne Fong and other leaders of the FAST Party.
- I thank you in advance for considering this official complaint lodged for and on behalf of members of the HRPP.. It is our hope that you will urgently investigate these complaints and lay the appropriate charges as your office deem fit.
10. I assume that anyone handling these complaints will act impartially and with independence in their role as the law enforcement arm of the Government of Samoa.
- I respectfully request that political affiliations will be set aside and that these matters will be dealt with purely on the facts and merits.
Ma le faaaloalo e tatau ai,
LEALAILEPULE RIMONI AIAFI, Secretary – HRPP
cc: His Honour Chief Justice Satiu Perese Simativa, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Samoa.
: Savalenoa Mareva Betham-Annandale, Attorney General