Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has downplayed claims that corruption is rife within his Government, describing people who think like that as “small minded.”
“That goes to show those people are small-minded,” he said.
“We have policies in place to address these issues and if this was a corrupt country, we would not investigate and prosecute corrupt acts, but that is not the case here."
Tuilaepa said when claims of wrongdoing surface, they have policies to deal with them.
“We carry out an investigation and then we await the outcome of that investigation.”
The claim comes at the back of a number of recent cases where senior government officials have been suspended and charged, implicated in wrongdoing.
During his weekly media programme, it was put to the Prime Minister that these cases indicating corruption is significant in Samoa.
In response, the Prime Minister laughed. He pointed out that in this life, there are angels and there is the devil.
“It means that whoever said those unrealistic things, does not see the world for what it is,” Tuilaepa said.
“And it happens everywhere. What is more important is the fact that once an issue arises; the Government acts immediately.”
Common sense should also be applied, he said. The process of natural justice dictates that an official is placed on suspension until the allegations are investigated and verified.
“Again this is nothing new, it is the usual process,” he said.
“Normally in any case, once the investigation is underway, the said official will be placed on suspension.
“That is nothing new, which has always been the Government policy.”
Tuilaepa then attacked people who claim corruption is rife in Samoa.
“That goes to show those people are small-minded.
When things happen, the Government will react in accordance with policies in place.
“There were previous cases, including the recent case with the Ministry of Police.”
Tuilaepa was referring to the Police arresting their Commissioner. The Commission was charged and later acquitted by the Court.
“So the suspension of government officials pending investigation is nothing new,” he said.
“It does not matter how long the investigation takes, but the fact of the matter is that the Government is doing something about it.”