Samoa's Minister of Women, Community and Social Development says the number of complaints against village leaders is on the rise.
The ministry is investigating a petition signed by 60 villagers from Nofoali'i, whose village council recently banished seven matai that included the pulenu'u, or village mayor, Tanuvasa Mitai.
Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Lei'ataua says the pulenu'u hold a key role in the village given they are the mouthpiece for a village on issues, and get remuneration from the government.
He says it is not an isolated case, but needs to be sorted out quickly.
"In his status as a pulenu'u of the village, obviously there were some monies that was under his custody, but when the village asked for it he couldn't give it back to the village. And some materials for maintenance purposes, like a lawnmower and bushknives and other equipment. And they said in a letter that they asked for this stuff, and the pulenu'u couldn't return them."
Samoa's Minister of Women, Community and Social Development, Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Lei'ataua