21 January 2020 Apia Samoa. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi says there are no limitations given to Chief Justice Satiu Simative Perese in regards to his post while seeking medical treatment in New Zealand.
“There is no time limit when officials are on leave seeking medical treatment,” said Tuilaepa.
“E leai se taimi fa’atulagaina e matua leai a se mea, e laolao lava le taimi e ave e togafiti ai le tagata o le Malo e gasegase..”
The question was put to the Prime Minister during his weekly program with TV3, as there were rumours the CJ had been given notice by the Prime Minister to return to his role, or lose his position.
The Samoa Prime Minister said there has been no such notice
“E leai se avea’i”
Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese was taken to New Zealand in October last year after spending a week at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole National Hospital.
Tuilaepa said Samoa’s high level positions including that of Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Head of State, Council of Deputies and Speaker of Parliament are all under similar procedures with respect to how they are treated.
“The only time this would happen is when it appears or it becomes clear that the person can no longer continue their service, or carry out the responsibilities of the post.
“O le tulaga lena e aofia uma ai lava tulaga tofi ia, e faapena fo’i i le Ao o le Malo, seiloga lava ua aliali mai, ua matuā le toe mafai ona tauave le tofi..”
Tuilaepa said Samoa is founded on God and the Christian thing to do is to give time, and allow them to return to work after they recover from illness.
“E le’o se atunuuu o fa’afoe i ni tulaga faamiliteli le atunuu lenei, o le a lau mea e fai pe a gasegase le tagata, e ao ona faatali pea seia malosi mai faatoa fa’atino le galuega…O faiga fa’akerisiano na”.
The appointment of the Head of Samoa’s Judiciary was announced in March 2020, to replace retired Chief Justice Tiavasue Falefatu Sapolu who ended his term in December 2019. Chief Justice Satiu Simative Perese took was a Samoan defense counsel working in Auckland. He took up the role in June 2020 and was taken back New Zealand for medical treatment just a few months later in October.