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Court issues Lealailepule a Departure Prohibition Order

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 03 MARCH 2023: The suspended Member of Parliament for Faleata No 3 Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi has been issued a Departure Prohibition Order (DPO) signed by District Court Judge Talasa Atoa Saaga.

Lealailepule is accused of bribery in the Vaimauga No 3 MP Lautimuia Uelese Vaai’s counter petition, and he asked for the Court’s permission last week to leave the jurisdiction and will give evidence via a zoom link from New Zealand when the matter is called for hearing.

However, Lautimuia’s lawyer Laga’aia Fetu Laga’aia opposed the application on the basis that Lealailepule is implicated in two separate matters.

Lealailepule’s application to leave jurisdiction was scheduled for hearing today, however, Laga’aia presented a copy of the Departure Prohibition Order to Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke informing of Lautimuia’s stance.

Justice Clarke gave an opportunity to Lealailepule’s lawyer Fuimaono Sefo Ainu’u to respond to the order and the matter will be recalled on Wednesday this week.

Motion for late note of filling affidavits
There are two separate matters for hearing. One is the election petition by unsuccessful HRPP candidate in the Vaimauga No 3 by-election, Samau Leatigagaeono Timani against Lautimuia in the Supreme Court, and two counts of bribery charges against Lealailepule in the District Court on the 18 April 2023.

Justice Clarke noted that both lawyers have filed their affidavits out of time.

He informed counsels that there is a strict timeframe for filing affidavits in a petition matter which parties should comply with, otherwise they would be still filing right up to the hearing date.

He reminded counsels of the process of filing a motion for late filing of affidavits and both have been ordered to do so by Thursday this week before the matter is recalled.