18 Sep 2006

Samoa Party leader denies bribery charges

11:29 am on 18 September 2006

The Samoa Party leader, Su'a Rimoni Ah Chong, has strongly denied the two bribery charges brought against him by former government minister, Mulitalo Siafausa Vui, who was found guilty last month of the same charge in an election court ruling.

Su'a told the court that the aim of the two bribery charges is to discredit his good name.

But he admitted giving 20 US dollars to several members of his extended family in Lano village who are witnesses in support of the charges against him.

However, he said that he gave the money as part of his good gesture according to Samoan traditions when a matai like him visited members of the family.

The gift he said was also a way of thanking the family for accepting him and providing food for an evening meal.

Su'a also admitted buying a new television set for the same family, but said he was not conscious of what the electoral act allowed candidates to do when the recipients were relatives.