Three Former Public Servants Sue Government for Wrongful Dismissal

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13 April 2022 Apia Samoa. Three former government employees have brought wrongful dismissal cases before the Supreme Court of Samoa this week.

The Attorney General’s Office is being sued by a former senior public prosecutor, Quentin Sauaga, claiming $140,000 tala in damages. Sauaga claims his contract was unlawfully terminated by former Attorney General, Savalenoa Mareva Betham-Annandale.

Represented by Leiataualesa Komisi Koria, the former public prosecutor is seeking orders for breach of contract, and denial of his right to a fair trial.

Since his dismissal from the Prosecuting team of the AGs Office, Mr Sauaga has been seen frequenting the Courts as a defense counsel.

Mr Sauaga represented former Deputy Speaker of the House, Nafoitoa Mataia Valu Talaimanu Keti, in his defamation law suit against Paepaetele Junior Betham – a former police officer who accused Nafoitoa of sexual harassment and rape towards a female police officer.

The second case before the Supreme Court alleging wrongful dismissal is former Senior Police Sergeant Ituau Ale Jnr Ale who is suing the Ministry of Police and Prisons for what he claims was his “sudden dismissal” after 17 years and 10 months of service.

Ituau is seeking damages of $390,000 tala from the Ministry of Police. He first entered the force as a Special Events Coordinator for Samoa Police and Special Operations, and by 2005 he had become a police detective.

Educated at Samoa College, Auckland Boys Grammar and Sacred Heart College, Ituau’s long list of achievements during his 17 years in the force includes the Security Plans for SIDS in 2014, the All Blacks game in 2015 and the Youth Commonwealth Games in 2015.

During a 2020 case where Sergeat Shrikrishna Schwenke was charged with possession of an unlawful weapon and later discharged without conviction – Schwenke had told the Court that Ituau Junior Ale directed him to take a .38 revolver home.

Schwenke told the Court at the time that Ituau Ale Jnr handed the gun to him, and told him to take it home and test it. When he returned it the next day, he said he told Ituau that the weapon seemed to be faulty, and asked if he should take it to Tagaloa Todd Iosefa, to place into the police armoury.

According to Schwenke, Ituau Ale told him not to submit the weapon to the armoury, but to take it home instead.

“Fai mai ou ke alu ma a’u i le makou fale sei koe fai mai”, Schwenke told the Court at the time.

“He said for me to take it home until he tells me again..”

The third former employee, Ms Faafetai Arasi, is bringing a legal suit against the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA).

The former Assistant Chief Executive Officer (ACEO) of Corporate Services had just had her three-year contract renewed when she was terminated.

FESA is run as a government agency under Act of Parliament, governed by an independent Board of Directors.