Afioga Luamanuvao Katalaina Sapolu has been appointed Ombudsman of Samoa following the resignation of Maiava Iulai Toma who held the position for the past 27 years.
A lawyer by profession, Luamanuvao started her career in 1988 as a staff solicitor for the Sapolu and Co. Barristers and Solicitors, becoming a Principal Solicitor from 1992 – 2002.
In 2002 Luamanuvao moved abroad to take up the role of Adviser and Head of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat, where she remained for over 15 years.
For almost two years, she was the Chief Legal Counsel for the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP Group) in Brussels, a role she took on in 2012.
She became Director of the Rule of Law Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat from 2013 – 2017, before she was appointed as the Senior Director for Governance and Peace Directorate from 2017 to 2019.
Luamanuvao returned to Samoa and comes to the Ombudsman role as a Barrister and Law Director for PL Strategy Consulting Limited.
Luamanuvao graduated with a Master of Laws (LLM) with Merit specialising in Public International Law from Queen Mary, University of London in 2008. She is an alumnus of the University of Auckland, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in 1986. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of Newcastle, Australia.
She was appointed Notary Public in Samoa in 1988, the same year she was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Samoa.
Luamanuvao takes on the Ombudsman role from Afioga Maiava Iulai Toma, who is regarded as one of the longest serving public servants in Samoa.
About the Office of the Ombudsman
The Office of the Ombudsman also Samoa’s National Human Rights Institution provides advice to the general public on matters relating to good governance and investigate practices of maladministration of government agencies.
It also carries out research and conducts activities in the promotion and protection of human rights in Samoa and conducts investigations concerning the abuse of power by enforcement agencies.
“The promotion of integrity in governance, the protection and promotion of human rights in Samoa and equal and fair treatment of people”
> To provide good leadership, management of systems, processes, efficient support and coordination for the successful implementation of the Office’s Work Programme.
> To enhance the lawful delivery of State Agency mandates to the reasonable satisfaction of members of the public.
> To promote and protect human rights and freedoms as the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI).
> To provide effective oversight and address misconduct of agencies exercising the coercive powers of the State and to conduct special investigations as may be authorised.