Resignation of Samoa's Finance Minister expected to mend rift
The resignation of Samoa's Finance Minister is expected to mend a rift within the ruling HRPP party.
The resignation of Samoa's Finance Minister, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, is expected to go some way towards healing a rift within the ruling Human Rights Protection Party.
Faumuina has received criticism for months, including from some within his own party caucus over allegations of abuse in the performance of his ministerial duties.
He was also implicated in the chief auditor's report on the Samoa Land Corporation where he was the minister of the corporation during a previous HRPP government.
In his ministerial speech in parliament last Wednesday night, he announced his resignation, responding to the allegations and apologised for any wrongdoing.
Our correspondent in Samoa, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, spoke with Leilani Momoisea about the reaction following Faumuina's resignation.
AUTAGAVAIA TIPI AUTAGAVAIA: There was a big pause in the house because there was no expectation for sure from all the MPs, including the government side of the house, that the Minister of Finance was going to step down. But the announcement of his resignation, most people I spoke to, they believe that this is the right decision he made. Even the MPs they said, well this is the best decision the minister has made, not only to save the party from all the internal friction, but also to save the Minister from all the criticisms. The question now is whether the findings of the chief auditor's report would be considered by the government to be referred into a commission of enquiry, that is something that we don't know yet. But the general feeling amongst most people that I talk to, is that this is the end of the whole issue.
LEILANI MOMOISEA: As you mentioned before, there had been a rift in the party. Do you think that that rift will be healed, that his resignation will go some way towards healing that rift within the party?
ATA: Yes, I would say yes, because the wound, or the rift inside the party was very strong at the time Faumuina was still a cabinet minister. Some other MPs who are very critical of the Minister of Finance, still spoke out about the leader of the country, the leader of the party, not making the right decision, not making a wise decision for the Minister of Finance to step down. Now he is resigning from the cabinet, and that I believe would help the ruling party in their preparation to campaign next year before the 2016 election.
LM: Do you think that the recent events have caused much damage to the ruling party, has there been much lasting damage do you think?
ATA: That's how we look at things on the commercial side of Apia, here in the town area where all the administration is happening, not only in business, but in the government. But for those people out in the rural area, they have a different way of looking at things. They believe that the government is doing the right thing, the Minister is doing the right thing and I don't think the ruling party has lost that support from the people in the rural areas.
LM : And is there any suggestion that Faumuina was pushed? Or does this seem very much like his own decision?
ATA: Well there's a lot of rumours, speculations, after he made his resignation verbally in parliament last week, that this was a strategy between him and the Prime Minister to resign but to wait until Parliament will come to the end of their last session to have a ministerial speech, and make that resignation in the house, there is a lot of speculation.
Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia says a new Minister of Finance is expected to be announced on Friday.
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