Tapunu’u Niko Lee Hang has been confirmed the Member of Parliament for Vaimauga No.3 constituency after a candidate for Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST), Ve’atauia Fa’atasi Puleiata withdrew his petition against Tapunu’u.
The case was heard before Justice Vui Clarence Nelson and Justice Lesatele Rapi Va’ai on Tuesday morning. Both the petitioner and respondent did not appear in Court, but were represented by their lawyers.
Counsel for petitioner was Leiataualesa Komisi Koria and the respondent was represented by counsel Arthur Lesa.
The matter has been adjourned to the 23rd of July for petition and counter petition withdrawals to be advertised over 7 days.
Tapunu’u who is now on to his fifth consecutive term in Parliament was first elected as an MP in 2001 through a by-election for the then Individual Voters Seat.
He was re-elected at the 2006 election and appointed Minister of Finance.
In 2011, he was again re-elected but replaced as Finance Minister by Faumuina Tiatia Liuga. In 2016 he took up the Ministry for Works Transport and Infrastructure portfolio.
Tapunu’u is the Patron of Teen Challenge Samoa, an NGO working in partnership with the Courts to rehabilitate at risk youth. who is also a popular former Registrar of the Court, V serves as a member of the Praise and Worship team for his church.
During the 2021 general election on April 9, Tapunu’u was closely challenged by Ve’atauia with 1657 votes for Tapunu’u and 1518 votes for Ve’atauina of Magiagi, best known for his role as a former Registrar of the Supreme Court.
The Vaimauga No.3 constituency is a densely populated urban seat that includes the villages of Magiagi, Vailima, Fa’ato’ia, Vini, Ma’agao, Magiagi-Uta, Lelata, Letava, Matautu-Tai, Matautu-Uta, Leone, Vaisigano, Vaoala, Afiamalu, Afiamalu- Sisifo, Papaloloa, Papauta, Tanugamanono, Tiapapata, Avele, Nafanua, Tanumaleko, Malololelei and Tiavi.
The confirmation of Tapunu’u as MP for Vaimauga No.3 constituency also confirms another MP for the Human Rights Protection Political Party with Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) Party currently standing at 26 MP’s vs HRPP with 17.