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Another Samoa prosecutor removed

Apia, SAMOA — Samoa’s Attorney General has assumed prosecutorial duties of the National Prosecution Office (NPO) following the suspension of the Acting Director of the NPPO, Mureil Lui who took over when cabinet also suspended Director of NPO, Mauga Precious Chang who is facing criminal charges in connection with a traffic incident. A press statement issued by the cabinet announces the suspension of Acting Director of NPO Lui.

The Cabinet has noted the continued refusal of the suspended Acting Director of NPO and suspended Director of NPO to properly perform powers and duties to uphold the rule of law and objectivity of the criminal justice system. The Cabinet has also resolved to appoint a Tribunal to evaluate the performance of Ms Lui and the suspended Director of NPO, Mauga Precious Chang, according to the statement.

Samoa’s Attorney General, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, is now Acting Director of the NPO. According to the statement, “Cabinet acknowledges that the actions of Ms Lui and Ms Chang have created unnecessary conflicts between government departments while diminishing public confidence in law enforcement processes and the justice system in Samoa.” 

“Furthermore, the validity of the establishment of the National Prosecution Office will also be reviewed to ensure the statutory responsibilities and powers are treated with greater transparency, accountability and respect.” The statement says that the Tribunal will be appointed on the grounds that Ms Chang and Ms Lui have not used the Statutory powers given to them in an appropriate manner and they have breached Civil Service Values and Code of Conduct under the Public Service Act 2004.

“Members of the Tribunal will include Justice Grant Hammond, former Justice of the High Court of Samoa; Tuiloma Neroni Slade, former Attorney General of Samoa; and the President of the Samoa Law Society or an appointed representative of the society.”  Their report will be provided to the Minister responsible for the NPO, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. The NPO is a newly established office that was opened for operation beginning of 2016 and it was initiated by the Prime Minister.

The NPO was prompted to improve prosecution services and for prosecutions at all levels in Samoa to be conducted uniformly by one office. In the meantime Samoa’s Government Newspaper, Savali in their interview with Tuilaepa explained that the NPO is not currently under the AG. “It just happens that the NPO's new Acting Director is the Attorney General. “