Four in Samoa — including Tuilaepa —charged with contempt of court
Apia, SAMOA — Samoa's caretaker prime minister is one of four top officials served with a motion accusing them of contempt of court. It was filed by the prime minister-elect, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, in the latest twist in a two-month political crisis.
Samoa’s caretaker Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi is named alongside Tiatia Graeme Tualaulelei, Savalenoa Mareva Betham-Annandale, Leaupepe Toleafoa Faafisi and Tuilaepa cited for contempt of Court.
In the motion,Tuilaepa is also accused of undermining the judiciary through disparaging comments.
Meanwhile Fiame said she continues to be patient as the deadlock continues.
She said she's prepared to wait however long it takes.
Fiame told the Pacific Media Network that Tuilaepa's behavior highlights why she broke away from his party to join FAST, "of Tuila'epa's government moving away from the rule of law, wanting to conduct business in a very dictatorial and autocratic way. So, we have to be patient and work through the institutional and legal paths that are available to us."
Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese, together with all members of Samoa’s Judiciary walked up to the doors of Parliament House on Monday 24th May – the 45th day since Samoa’s 9th April general election — expecting parliament to convene.
Clerk of the Legislative Assembly Tiatia Graeme Tualaulelei apologized to the FAST party leader that morning, and conveyed that their position was based on the latest Proclamation issued by the Head of State – referring to the Proclamation declared unlawful by the Supreme Court of Samoa.
On Sunday evening after the Court orders were made known, Tuilaepa spoke from the TV1 studio publicly condemning the Court decision and stated that he and members of the Human Rights Protection Party would refuse to attend a swearing in.
In Samoa Contempt of Court is not in an Act of Parliament and so the rules are drawn from Common Law or the decisions of Courts in the UK, Australia and NZ, according to information on the Samoa Global News website which also provided the following information.
THREE TYPES OF CONTEMPT
Scandalizing the Court includes behavior that undermines the integrity of the Court such as abuse of Judges and suggesting they are biased, dishonest or incompetent.
Wilful Disobedience of Court Orders for acting in breach of the Orders made by the Court.
Contempt in the Face of the Court, where a witness or public does something while the court is in session such as swear or shout at the judges.
(Sources: Samoa Global News & RNZ Pacific)