She Wanted to Run for Parliament – Best Friend Says Justina Had Many Plans for her Future

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The Owner and President of Samoa Stationery and Books (SSAB) was called as a witness for prosecution earlier this week in the case of Kolani Junior Lam accused of murdering his wife and former UTOS CEO Sa’u Justina Sa’u on Sunday 21st October 2018.

Court Room No.2 of Samoa’s Supreme Court was in complete silence during the testimony of Tofilau Fiti Leung Wai, giving evidence as a close friend and one of the last people to have communicated with Justina on Saturday night before her tragic death.

Tofilau left listeners in tears as she spoke of their friendship which started in 1998 as young graduates working for the Ministry of Finance. She described her friend as someone who was hard working, driven and focused with many plans for her future.

“Justina was such a positive person,”

It is Tofilaus testimony that she does not believe her friend could have wanted to take her own life. They had planned to meet that Saturday before she died but Tofilau got busy at work. When she texted Justina to reschedule, she received a text back at around 7pm on Saturday evening.

“Hi, malo lava le faamalosi. Aua e te popole. Have a great evening. Catch up next week.”

Tofilau told the Court that, “Nothing in that message implicated that she would ever take her own life”.

Tofilau said Justina would take her 2 year old Julani and baby Sofia everywhere they went, adding that such a loving mother would never do such a thing.

“As a mother seiloga e leaga lou ulu o le a e tago ai fasioti oe.”

Tofilau spoke of a “happy person..full of life” who never complained about anything but always looked for ways to solve her problems.

Tofilau had been Justina’s maid of honor at her wedding to Kolani, and she told the Court about the many plans she and ber best friend had shared.

Tofilau and Sa’u on Justina’s wedding day.

As a 43 year old mother of 4 and government CEO, Sa’u Justina Sa’u had plans for her future.

“She wanted to become a Parliamentarian. She wanted to run for Aiga i le Tai.”

Tofilau said her friend would always call SSAB when it was close to End of Year prize giving to put aside trophies for Apolima Primary School.

Their group of friends had also planned to take their children to Fiji for a holiday and Justina was the one leading these plans and exploring hotel options for their trip.

Tofilau also said Justina had wanted to go back to Apolima Uta and expand the family business there.

In terms of Justina’s relationship with Kolani, Tofilau said she felt that her friend always wanted to protect Kolani.

“O lau vaai ia Justina ua alofa foi i le tama lea.”

“I could see that Justina loved him.”

After the marriage, Tofilau said Justina told her that Kolani refused to stay at their home in Ululoloa because Justina’s first husband was burried there. When the move was made to Kolani’s home at Sinamoga, Tofilau said Justina refurnished the whole house at Sinamoga with beds and lounge suites and new kitchen cupboards, even a new washing machine.

Tofilau told the Court that shortly after the new washing machine was delivered, Justina had called to ask for a replacement lid. When the machine was brought back to SSAB for repairs, the damage was unexplainable.

Tofilau called to ask her friend what had happened to her brand new washing machine.

Jutina responded that they had a fight and Kolani punched the lid of the machine.

“Sa ma misa foi tago tui le tapuni,”

Tofilau said she suspected Kolani to be someone that was abusive towards Justina, damaging their property, however, Justina never shared this with her.

Tofilau awoke to the news of her friend’s tragic death when she opened her phone on Sunday morning to find two text messages.

One at 3.34am “Fiti Tina is gone” and at 7.10am “Fiti Tina passed away last night.”

In shock Tofilau had called Justina’s phone hoping to hear her voice, thinking that this was just a sick joke.

Tofilau could not hold back tears as she shared the pain of the days and weeks that followed as she tried to come to terms with what had happened.

During cross examination defense counsel Leiataualesa Komisi Koria asked Tofilau why she felt Justina could not share certain things such her financial situation with her family and her relationship with her husband.

Tofilau said she knew Justina to be a “positive person” who always looked at ways to solve her problems.

The prosecution rested yesterday afternoon after close to 30 witnesses. Defence is expected to start this morning with Kolani Junior Lam taking the stand to give evidence.


Maina Vai