Isn’t it time for P.M. Tuilaepa’s Government to investigate developments at Ministry of Justice?

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

Flipping through the pages of the Samoa Observer editions during the past few weeks, one could be forgiven for asking just what on earth is going on at the halls of justice in Samoa today? 

We are talking about the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration by the way. It seems to be a hive of activities – legal and illegal – night and day. If only the walls, doors, chairs and tables could talk.

It started on Monday two weeks ago with a story titled “Police, Justice evidence missing.” The story details the mystery surrounding a gun that had been submitted as evidence for the hearing of a Police officer.

Sometime ago, it appears that the weapon suddenly grew legs so that it walked out of the building, probably took a taxi from Mulinu’u to an unknown destination.

Today, both the Ministry and the Police are puzzled. Keep in mind that this happened last year and since then, an investigation launched to find the gun has gotten absolutely nowhere.

Now the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration, Papali’i John Taimalelagi, said they are extremely concerned about the lack of developments into the hunt for it.

Well of course they should. How can they guarantee the safekeeping of all other Court evidence if this case is not resolved? And is it a coincidence that the missing gun is part of evidence in a Court hearing involving a Police officer?

In any case, Papali’i said the removal of the gun has forced the Ministry to reconsider how evidence from Court cases is stored. He said they are now locked away in a safe place with only one key. 

 “I have that key and it will not leave my sight,” he said. “All the exhibits that come in will be handed over to me for safe keeping ensuring this issue is not repeated.”

Well that’s good to know. Still, it will be great to find out where the gun has disappeared to and who took it. In this day and age, you would think that the place would be saturated by CCTV cameras? 

If they weren’t in place, maybe they should now. There appears to be a number of interesting activities happening down there at all sorts of hours. It would be fascinating youtube material.

Just last week, two Court Officers were arrested and charged in connection to a glass pipe used to smoke methamphetamine the Police had confiscated from the Court compound. 

Astounding. Let me remind you again that we are talking about the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration. They handle countless court cases of drug dealers who end up being thrown in jail.

At this point in time, we are interested to know what an ice pipe is doing within the vicinity of the Justice building. And what would make an officer of the Court, that jails people who do drugs, bring such a piece of utensil into the compound?

Mind you, it’s not just junior officers who have been making the news.

 The President of the Land and Titles Court, Fepulea’i Attila Ropati, has been in the news a lot lately for all the wrong reasons. The charges against Fepulea’i stemmed from a party last year where he and a Security Guard of the Court had a bit of a disagreement.

And then there is the Minister of Justice and Courts Administration, Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainu’u. Last week, he vehemently denied claims that Land and Titles Court files were removed from the Court and taken to his office.

The files were allegedly delivered by the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration employee, Tu’ulima Pio, to the Minister’s office. When he did that, he was apparently accompanied by the Secretary of Chief Executive Officer, Papali’i John Taimalelagi.

Asked for a comment, Minister Fa’aolesa said: “That is not true. I cannot respond to the questions if you will not tell me who said these things to you.”

Well now that he knows it was Mr. Pio who told us, what does he have to say?

Getting back to Mr. Pio, he made some other interesting claims, raising concerns about some of the activities at the Ministry of Justice.

Said Mr. Pio: “I have picked up family members (of senior officials) and drive them around for grocery shopping; run errands yet this was not my job in the first place. I am not being paid by the Government to run errands for the A.C.E.O’s and their family members.”

Now don’t you think it is time for Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi to launch an independent investigation to find out exactly what is going on down at the halls of justice in Samoa today? 

Have a wonderful Tuesday Samoa, God bless!

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