3 Aug 2006

Samoan cabinet minister still faces election petition over treating allegations

9:42 am on 3 August 2006

Samoa's Minister of Broadcasting and Telecommunications has failed in his attempt to have an election petition against him dropped by resigning.

The Minister, Mulitalo Siafausa Vui, wrote to the prime minister proffering his resignation but later withdrew the offer.

The minister's offer to step down coincided with his lawyer's application to the court for the case to be dropped and a by-election called.

Mulitalo had been hoping he could stand as a candidate in the by-election and continue his political career.

But, the application was denied by the two Australian judges presiding over the petition which was brought by Samoa party Leader Su'a Rimoni Ah Chong, accusing the minister of bribery and treating.

Mulitalo said last night he wants the case dropped and a fresh election called to allow his people to make a fresh choice.

Meanwhile both the Minister and the prime minister have denied reliable sources who said the two met earlier in the week and discussed a political move through the resignation attempt.