The lawyer representing the Associate Minister of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Peseta Vaifou Tevaga, in a lawsuit against former business associates has written to the Samoa Observer to ask for a correction.
The lawsuit involves Peseta suing La’auli Leuatea Polataivao, Apulu Lance Polu and Martin Schwalger.
Leuluaiali’i Olinda Woodroffe’s letter is published verbatim below:
Dear Keni and Savea,
As you know I am a great supporter of the Samoa Observer and firm believer in the right of the public to know what is going on.
Your reporter Joyetter Luamanu has misquoted two issues relating to the above case. I seek your kind assistance in doing something about it, as I spoke to Joyetter before I left Samoa to correct her misreporting but thus far I have not seen any correction.
In her initial report of the above case, she reported that I personally spoke to her and told her, as she reported in your 7th June publication stating the following: “Lawyer Leulua’i ali’i told Samoa Observer the preliminary calculation has the lawsuit at $3milliontala, however, it may increase as the Court deems.”
This report is false, and I called her on the same evening that the report was released and told her to correct it. At Court the next day I also told her to correct her errors, but this has not been done.
I never spoke personally to Joyetter in Court.
I never told her that Peseta is seeking $3million. There is no quantum stated in our court documents. There is a reasons (sic) for this. That is, the case is a precedent case raising new issues for Samoa and the quantum sought can be later calculated in Court, taking all the issues that are now being brought to light as the hearing progresses.
Thus it is unwise for a senior experienced lawyer to pre-empt the client’s case by putting a quantum to it, at this stage. Your reporter said, that I was talking to someone else, and she got her phone out, and recorded what I was saying, without my permission.
As you both know, this is unacceptable breach of privacy. She should have asked me. Furthermore, to quote me in the paper, saying that I spoke to her, is false.
What concerns me, is the misquoting of the quantum that Peseta is seeking and attributing this to me. I have legitimate concerns about pre-empting my client’s case at this point of time. Your help in correcting this, is greatly appreciated.
I appreciate the work that you do and the positive contribution that you make to Samoa. I do my best also. I am not just suing people for money. Promoting Honesty and Transparency in Samoa is important to lives of all people.
I look forward to hearing from you.
RESPONSE FROM THE EDITOR: Thank you for your letter Leulua’iali’i. I want to wholeheartedly apologise for Joyetter Luamanu’s error. We take our role of informing the public very seriously but sometimes our reporters become too eager and occasionally get carried away. We are truly, truly sorry Leuluaiali’i. Having said that, we want to make a correction that Peseta’s lawsuit is not for $3million. The amount is yet to be determined. We wish all the parties in this Court hearing the best. May the truth and nothing but truth win – and in your case Leuluaiali’i, whatever quantum amount your client is seeking.