22 March 2019, Mulinuu, Apia Samoa. Tala “Ninja” Pauga was fined $2000 tala by District Court Judge Leota Raymond Schuster, and ordered to also pay $200 towards police cost and $200 to the Immigration Office by 3pm today.
The Court heard that Tala Pauga dishonestly ticked ‘no’ in the arrival card to indicate that he did not have any previous convictions.
Judge Leota says the maximum penalty for this charge is a fine of $10,000 with no imprisonment term.
The Court ordered that “the fine is to be paid in full today before 3pm.”
Outside Court attempts to get a comment from Tala Pauga, who had previously been very opinionated before the media, was unsuccessful.
His lawyer Josephine Fuimaono Sapolu told the media that the matter was interesting as this is the first time a case under the Immigration Act had come before the Courts.
“I think it will also perhaps look at the Samoa Immigration Services to see how they could deal with these kinds of cases coming through the Attorney General’s Office,” she said.
“It might not be the last time but we will see.”
Asked if the decision was favorable Ms. Sapolu said it’s hard for her to comment given that this is the first time a case such as this had been dealt with by the Court.
“I could say it’s really good because its small or I can say it’s really bad because it’s in the thousands so we don’t really know until we see more of these cases coming through before the Court then I can make a comment.”
She added the matter had also set an obligation on the Samoa Immigration services to be very thorough with everyone that comes through the airport.
“Especially now with what has happened in Christchurch and the terrorist attack that occurred by an Australian born citizen coming into New Zealand, so I think it’s definitely something for Samoa to look into, to ensure the safety of the courty and its people.”