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Samoa Police Commissioner back to work, cleared of all charges

Apia SAMOA — Supreme Court Justice, Lesatele Rapi Va’ai has dismissed the criminal charges against Samoa’s Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil. The Commissioner was facing charges, which included making a false statement, perjury, unlawful detaining and misconduct in a public place. 

This was in connection with the arrest of a former police officer Suitupe Misa, at the Fugalei market last year, where officers were armed while making the arrest, due to instructions from the Commissioner. Following charges being filed against the Commissioner, the Samoa cabinet then moved to suspend Fuiavailiili with full pay.

Independent Prosecutor Paul Dacre informed the court that there was not enough evidence on hand for the matter to proceed. He said since the last time the matter was called, there have been new developments. During the hearing on Friday (Samoa Time) the prosecutor pointed out that while the files were handed to him by the Attorney General’s office, he alone handled the case and the Attorney General’s office was not involved in any manner.

“I received instructions to take care of this file by law under the independent prosecutor act. The Attorney General and staff have not played a part in my decision making, I’ve not been to see the Attorney General and I’ve not discussed the case with the Attorney General or the staff.” Dacre further stated that under the Prosecution Act of 2015 there are criteria set out for prosecutorial matters and he’s applied the criteria to the four criminal charges against the Police Commissioner. “I have reached a conclusion for each of the four charges — the admissible evidence is not sufficient.

He made it clear that his “decision is made purely on the guidelines and direction” of the law.  He then moved to withdraw the criminal case against the Police Commissioner.

Fuiavailiili’s attorney Komisi Koria did not object to the motion by Dacre but added for the court to stay the prosecution of this matter in the future. In response, Lesatele ruled, “All the four charges against the defendant are withdrawn and dismissed.” The court also ordered the stay of prosecution in this case any further. 

Outside of the court, Fuiavailiili told Samoa Observer that he always knew in his heart that “if you do the right thing and you stick to your principles and you do what you are supposed to do you will be okay in the long run.”  He also said he is ready to get back to work and continue doing what he has been doing in the hope that “will make us all proud of the Samoan police.  (It is) not my rules, not my laws, I'm just implementing what should have been done a long time ago, and there's a few, not the whole organization, who are resistant to that change and I'm holding them accountable to what they're supposed to do in the first place.” 

According to the Samoa Observer, Fuiavailili’s father, Mapusua Rudolf Keil was emotional and very happy about the decision from the court.