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Court of Appeal declares Toomata Nora’s parliamentary seat void

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 14 NOVEMBER 2022: The Court of Appeal has today declared the Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi FAST party woman MP, Toomata Nora Leota’s parliamentary seat void.

The decision was delivered today after a hearing of the appeal by the Human Rights Protection Party women Members of Parliament, Aliimalemanu Alofa Tuuau and Faagasealii Feagiai Sapoa.

The appeal focused on the interpretation of Article 44(1E) of the Constitution.

The Court of Appeal having heard the argument from the Appellant allowed the appeal and partial paragraph 59B of the Supreme Court decision.

They noted that the swearing in of Toomata should not have happened and declared it invalid and that she is not a Member of Parliament.

The Court of Appeal also dismissed a cross appeal from the FAST party unsuccessful woman candidate Lolomatauama Eseta Mataituli.

To’omata was sworn in as an MP after the Supreme Court ruled that she be sworn in as an additional woman member on the basis of the Court’s interpretation of Articles 44(1A) (b) and 44(1E).

That part of the Supreme Court’s judgment was challenged by the appellants.

She and the Appellants were all sworn in as Members of Parliament in May this year.

Today’s decision brings the number of women MPs in Parliament to six and the number of parliamentary seats to 53.

CLICK FOR FULL COURT DECISION: CA01-22 Tuuau & Ors v Leota & Ors (COA Judgement)