26 January 2019, Apia Samoa. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi defended the building of the Tanumalala Prison following criticism from Member of Parliament of Salega Sasa’e, Olo Fiti Va’ai during his parliamentary address on the supplementary budget.
In Parliamemt Olo Fiti Vaai told the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti that the only mistake presented for Governments additional spending is the allocation given to the Tanumalala Prison.
“The only error here is that you’ve given Ti’alavea more money to build his prison, that’s the only issue there but we leave it up to you.”
“Pau lava si ou sasi lea e iai ua e toe avatua foi isi tupe ia Ti’alavea e fai ai lana falepuipui pau a lena o lou sasi ae ta’atia atu pea lava i lau afioga.”
The Minister of Prisons, also the Minister for Revenue in Samoa Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, said that the new Tanumalala Prison was expected to be ready by October or November this year.
The new prison facility will have six cell blocks with four for male inmates, one for women, one for custody and a facility to hold high risk prisoners.
The plans also include an administration building, a medical clinic and a chapel with high security fencing.
The Tanumalala Prison is primarily funded by a loan from the Unit Trust of Samoa, which will be repaid by funds from the Ministry of Police and Prisons Budget.
Tuilaepa intervened in Parliament to the Member of Salega East, saying that Olo brings up the Tanumalala Prison project every time he speaks.
“Every time you speak you always mention the prison at Tanumalala,” he said.
“You know very well how these projects work, but it’s because you were never a minister hence why you don’t understand any of these.”
Tuilaepa also reminded the opposition MP that the prison buildings are important to address prison breakouts which the country is faced with.
“The Tanumalala Prison has always been in discussion, especially with the increasing number of prisoners. Tafaigata Prison is too small and we see prisoners keep escaping,” he said.
“So there is a huge need for a proper prison that will be able to solve all of these problems.
“That is how things work if it’s not complete within a year then it continues to the next year.
“Ua ala ona ou tulai atu ona e uigā upu ia e saunoa iai le sui, ma o le fa’asaoga lena.
“E iai upu e masani ai le atunu’u e iai e fa’alele e iai e mātau.”