Samoa opposition turns up heat on Finance Minister
Samoa's ruling HRPP Party is under pressure from the opposition for failing to call the Finance Minister to account, while sacking the two Associate Ministers.
Samoa's opposition party has criticised the country's finances and renewed calls for the Finance Minister to be sacked.
The Tautua Party held a news conference to decry the Finance Ministry and point to disunity among the governing party members.
While the Government is standing by its embattled Finance Minister, the two associate ministers have reportedly been sacked, and the opposition is calling the Government to account.
Alex Perrottet reports:
A letter from 19 members of the ruling Human Rights Protection Party to their leader, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, has now been published in the Samoa Observer, and lists 18 misdemeanours of the Finance Minister, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga. The accusations include spending US$260,000 on his office, using a government car for his family, poor planning of the new market in Apia and wasting the country's finances with unnecessary variations on a range of projects. But the letter was anonymous and government ministers say they have not seen the signatures. At a party caucus vote last week, nine members of the party voted in favour of keeping Faumuina where he is, while seven voted for a reshuffle and three called for his sacking.Two associate ministers of finance are being moved on, but Faumuina will remain, and the Tautua Party leader Palusalue Fa'apo says the Prime Minister should heed calls to sack him.
PALUSALUE FA'APO: The Prime Minister didn't address the matter correctly. He should have removed the minister considering the votes that were cast that day. So that's why we were putting pressure on to the Prime Minister to do the right thing by removing him from the portfolio.
Tautua Party MP Afualo Dr Wood Salele says the Prime Minister should stand up for proper behaviour rather than play politics.
AFUALO DR WOOD SALELE: You cannot play hardcore politics to cloud justice. So he has to do the right thing, which is to remove the minister himself rather than allowing the party to decide that. It's a mockery of democracy when you look at it.
Afualo says the party will ask the independent Attorney-General to investigate Faumuina. One associate minister of finance, Peseta Vaifou Tevaga, says he resigned ahead of the announcement that he and fellow associate minister Tialavea Seinafo were terminated. But Tialavea Seinafo says he hasn't been sacked yet and hasn't received any letter from the Prime Minister. He says he stands by Faumuina and the Government.
TIALAVEA SEINAFO: I will support my minister of finance 100%, so as with the HRPP and the Prime Minister. I will support them 100%.
Tialavea Seinafo says he has his own plans to move out of the Ministry so to be able to apply for ministry tenders on behalf of his personal construction company. The Prime Minister could not be reached for comment.
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