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Samoa Tourism CEO counters allegations with a complaint

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 09 MAY 2022: The Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Tourism Authority (STA), Suifua Faamatuainu Lenatai Suifua has lodged a complaint against the STA employee who made the accusations resulting in the CEO’s suspension.

Lauina Leilua, is one of the employees who filed a complaint to the Minister for Samoa Tourism Authority and later the Minister for Public Enterprises, accusing Suifua of misconduct and misuse of Government properties.

However, Suifua in a letter to the Acting Chairman of the STA Board of Directors, Nathan Bucknal, accused Lauina of lying in his application form so he could secure a job with STA.

He also accused Lauina of sexual harassment in his previous employment.

“This individual (Lauina) failed to disclose to the STA during his interview for his current employment the reason why he left his former employment at the Samoa police Services, therefore obtained his current employment by false pretence,” said Suifua.

He further stated in his letter that Lauina “was terminated for sexual harassment as outline in a report by the Police Service.”

Suifua claimed that Lauina was behind the move for STA staff to sign a petition against him and “stipulating that it was the Prime Minister ordering them to sign the letter or petition.”

Suifua was one of the panelists that interviewed Lauina in 2018 for the STA Training and Education position and in 2021 for the National Beautification Officer.

He said Lauina would never have secured these positions if he (Suifua) knew about his past.

He also questioned the validity of the claim that the Prime Minister was behind the petition against him.

“The Prime Minister has always highlighted the importance of the Rule of Law so saying that it’s the Prime Minister that has requested these signatures and letters is a serious breach of law and obtained by false deceptions,” said Suifua.

Suifua’s contract ends next month (June) but is currently on special leave awaiting the outcome of the investigation against him.