2 May 2011

Samoa opposition leader says free New Year's drinks cost him his parliamentary seat

1:45 pm on 2 May 2011

The outgoing Tautua Samoa party leader says he's disappointed to have lost his parliamentary seat but accepts the election court's ruling that's found him guilty of bribery and treating.

The election petition was brought against the Opposition leader by an unsuccessful candidate of the ruling HRPP in the Vaisigano No. 1 constituency on Savaii in March's general election.

Vaai Papu Vaelupe says his actions at New Year have been used against him and he's now barred from standing in an election for ten years.

"It's two drinks. And bribing is money. Money I gave to one of the top orators of our district here, as a New Year's gesture. But he held onto it."

Vaai Papu Vaelupe says the Tautua party plans to meet tomorrow to appoint the new opposition leader and the next Tautua candidate to stand in a probable by-election.