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UNCONSTITUTIONAL – Court lifts suspension on Tuilaepa & Lealailepule

Staff Reporters

APIA, SAMOA – 04 JULY 2023: The Supreme Court today ruled to lift the two year suspension imposed by Parliament on two senior Opposition MPs, HRPP Leader Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and Party Secretary, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiaifi.

Delivered by Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese, the court declared the suspension void as it “breaches article 44(1) of the Constitution and the framework of Samoa’s Constitution of responsible and representative government.”

The court also ruled that Tuilaepa and Lealailepule are entitled to be paid their remuneration and allowances that were withheld on account of the terms of the suspensions.

The MPs are also to file for costs within 14 days and the Respondents to response within a further 14 days.

Tuilaepa and Lealailepule were suspended 18 October 2022 after parliament voted 29-19 in support of the Privileges and Ethics Committee’s report that found the pair in contempt of parliament and suspended them for 24 months.

Parliament resorted to a secret ballot after a four hour long extended session that resulted in one HRPP MP crossing the floor to support the Committees report.

The suspension followed on from the Supreme Court’s ruling that suggested revisiting the Parliament Committee’s decision on penalties for the MPs that the first Committee report found in contempt of parliament.

CLICK for Full Court Decision: Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi & Lealailepule Rimoni v Speaker of LA & AG (Decision)