Senior Sergeant Gives Evidence in Illegal Weapons and Drug Trial Against Former Assistant Electoral Commissioner

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Outside Court. L: Prosecutor Iliganoa Atoa with Senior Sergeant Pauli Tauaa. R: Defense Counsel Magele Leone Su’a-Mailo.

Senior Sergeant Muagututia Paul Tauaa gave evidence on Thursday in the week-long trial of former Assistant Electoral Commissioner Afualo Daryl Mapu, jointly charged with Ms Marie Fanueli after police found illegal weapons, drug utensils and methamphetamine during a raid of a home at Nuu-Fou last December.

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Senior Sergeant Muagututia who led the investigation, testified that land ownership papers from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) shows Daryl Mapu’s name as the owner of the parcel where the police had conducted the raid.

Muagututia was responding to questions from Justice Tafaoimalo Tologata Leilani Tuala-Warren, presiding over the judge-only trial that started on Monday.

Justice Tuala-Warren also asked Senior Sergeant Muagututia how he came to know that Daryl owned the drivers license and atm cards found in the wallet which had been in the pocket of a black pair of shorts the defendant was wearing on the day of the raid.

“The driver’s license had Daryl Mapu’s name and photo, and the atm cards also had Daryl Mapu’s name on them.”

On the first day of the trial, police officer Tasi Matafeo of the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) testified that Afualo had worn a black pair of shorts on that day.

Matafeo told the Court that when a body search was conducted on Afualo, a wallet was found in the right pocket of the shorts he wore, while a small round zip-up pouch was found in the left pocket..

“In the zip-up bag they found small clear plastic bags containing white powder,” the officer had testified.

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However, Afualo Daryl Mapu’s defense counsel Magele Leone Sua-Mailo, has put to police witnesses that a man by the name of Pelepesite will be taking the stand to testify that the drugs, illegal weapons and utensils all belong to him. Defense counsel has also stated the witness, expected to give evidence Friday morning, will also say that he owns the black shorts worn by the defendant, as well as the home that was raided.

According to Defense, the only reaon why Mapu and Fanueli were on the premises at the time, was because they were in a relationship and wanted to use the upstairs room of the building.

Responding to Justice Tuala-Warren, Senior Sergeant Muagututia testified that the wallet found contained Afualo’s driver’s license and bank cards, and according to MNRE records, the land was in the defendant’s name.

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Muagututia testified in Court that he had interviewed the defendant after his arrest that day.

According to the Senior Sergeant, Afualo was asked if wanted to make a statement and if he wanted a lawyer present.

Afualo told him he was prepared to take all the charges relating to weapons, drugs and utensils, but pleaded with him to please release his girlfriend, testified Muagututia.

Defense Counsel Magele Leone Su’a-Mailo in cross examination asked about the police briefing that day. Muagututia responded that only the senior officers were fully briefed, while the lower ranked officers were only briefed inside the vehicles on route to the location.

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Counsel asked about the search warrant and put it to Muagututia that it was a search for illegal weapons.

Muagututia responded, yes, it was for a search for illegal weapons, and any other illegal substances or activities police may find.

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Former Attorney General Tuatagaloa Aumua Ming Leung Wai is the Defense Counsel for Marie Fanueli, a former OEC employee who had been on the property with Afualo at the time of the raid.

Tuatagaloa asked Senior Sergeant Muagututia if they had examined his client’s mobile phone.

Muagututia told the Court they had found nothing incriminating on Ms Fanueli’s phone.

Defense counsel asked why they had charged his client at all.

Muagututia responded that Ms Fanueli was arrested and charged because she was at the premises when the police arrived with a search warrant to conduct the raid.

Counsel asked Muagututia if he had known Afualo Daryl Mapu was married. The Senior Sergeant responded he only found out when a woman had come to the police station with two children, claiming to be Afualo’s wife.

Prosecution had 20 witnesses on their list, mostly officers who had been on the raid.

Defense will present their case today where both defendants are expected to take the stand.