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Update: AG confirms Fepulea’i’s lack of valid permit to enter Am Samoa

Attorney General Fainuulelei Falefatu Alailima-Utu
reporters@samoanews.com

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — It has been confirmed that Samoa’s Police Associate Minister Fepulea’i Fa’asavalu Faimata Su'a, a citizen of Samoa, traveled to the territory without a valid permit earlier this month. 

The confirmation by Attorney General Fainuulelei Falefatu Alailima-Utu  was aired on KVZK TV’s news last night. 

“Member of Parliament Fepuleai Faasavalu Faimata Su'a, a citizen of Samoa, traveled to American Samoa on Samoa Airways and arrived at Tafuna Airport at about 8 am.  

He did not have a thirty-day entry permit, and he did not obtain a 7-day waiver for an entry permit or OK Board prior to his arrival in American Samoa.

“Even if Mr. Fepuleai had presented a diplomatic passport, he was required to comply with American Samoa entry requirements and immigration laws,” said Fainu’ulelei. 

The AG also confirmed the $500 fine against the airline with KVZK. 

“CEO of Samoa Airways Fauo'o Fatu Tielu and Samoa Government officials have apologized for Samoa Airways' non-compliance on November 3, 2023, with American Samoa immigration requirements regarding Mr. Fepuleai Fa'asavalu Faimata Sua. 

“Under the law, I am authorized to fine Samoa Airways up to $1,000. Given the circumstances of Member of Parliament Fepuleai's case and the apology from the Samoa Government, I have fined Samoa Airways $500 (five hundred US dollars).” 

Last week, Samoa Observer reported that Fepulea’i has since been asked to resign from his post as Associate Minister.   

Samoa Observer out of Apia reported that highly placed Samoa government officials confirmed that the instruments for his removal were approved last Friday by Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa before flying out of the country on duty travel. 

They tried to get comments from the Acting Prime Minister, Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio, and the Minister for Police, Prisons and Corrections Services, Lefau Faualo Harry Schuster, but were unsuccessful. Attempts were made to reach out to Fepulea'i on Saturday to confirm his sacking, but his phone rang out. 

However, Samoa’s Police Commissioner Auapaa’u Logoitino Filipo told KVZK news they received orders from the Cabinet to seize the government assets in Fepuleai’s possession, including the government vehicle.