30 Jan 2003

American Samoan Senate approves move for own expulsion hearing

11:56 am on 30 January 2003

The American Samoa Senate has passed a motion to hold an expulsion hearing for Senator Faamausili Pola.

Our correspondent in Pago Pago, Monica Miller has more

"By a vote of 10 to six the Senate approved a resolution that sets in motion expulsion hearings for Senator Faamausili Pola."

The vote came after a hearing of the Committee of the Whole in which nearly all of the 16 Senators present took the floor to express an opinion.

Opponents urged that the Senate not take a vote on the measure which they considered to be after the fact approach by the Senate to satisfy the court's ruling in the Faamausili vs Senate case.

Manu'a Senator, Misaalefua Hudson asked that the Senate to proceed with caution on the measure and not heed to objections from a small group of chiefs to Faamausili's election.

Senators who spoke in support of the resolution said that a delegation of from Ta'u district has visited villages on Tutuila informing them about chiefs of Ta'u who have been banished from the village.

The banished chiefs included Faamausili.

Tauanuu, a former judge said the Senate has shown respect and honour to Faamausili by inviting him to resolve the difference with his village but Faamausili has returned that respect by taking the chosen leaders of the territory to court.

Meanwhile, the Senate is waiting for an Appeal court ruling on its application to overturn a lower courts order to reinstate Faamausili.

The Senate expelled Faamausili last year after a group of chiefs from his Manu'a district claimed that he was not elected according to Samoan tradition.