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Privileges Committee to investigate charges against Sagaga 1 MP

By Lagi Keresoma

Apia, Samoa – 25 October 2023: The Member of Parliament (MP) for the electoral constituency of Sagaga.1. Loau Keneti Sio has denied charges of breaching section 46 (2) of the Constitution.

Loau denied the charges in yesterday’s parliament sitting when given the chance to respond by the Speaker Papalii Li’o Ta’eu Masipa’u.

According to the Speaker, the charges stemmed from the MP breaching not only Section 46 (2) of the Tenure of Office of Members in the Constitution but also the Standing Orders.

The Section 46 (2) provision states that the seat of a Member of Parliament shall become vacant upon:

  • His/her death
  • If the member resigns
  • If the Member ceases to be a citizen of Samoa or
  • If the member is disqualified.

In Loau’s case, he was absent from Parliament sitting for some time without notice.

The matter is now before the Parliamentary Privileges & Ethics Committee for investigation.

Speaker honour Court decision
The Speaker has also honoured the Supreme Court decision to reinstate Opposition leader Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi.

Tuilaepa & Lealailepule
Tuilaepa & Lealailepule

Opposition Members of Parliament, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi & Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi.

Both MPs were suspended for 2 years after being found guilty of contempt of parliament by the Privileges and Ethics Committee of Parliament.

In his ruling in May this year, the Chief Justice Satiu Perese Simativa noted that the Court does not interfere with Parliament decisions and referred the matter back to Parliament for their decision.

Parliament then issued a 2 year suspension for both MPs who then took legal actions against their suspension.

The Court ruled that the Parliament’s decision was unconstitutional and ordered the reinstatement of the MPs.

Papalii said both MPs will return to Parliament but his appeal against the decision continues.