8 Oct 2002

Ousted American Samoan Senator says his dismissal illegal

4:55 pm on 8 October 2002

The lawyer for an ousted American Samoan Senator says his fellow Senators had no right to dismiss him from the body.

Faamausili Pola is challenging his dismissal from the Senate in the High Court.

His lawyer Charles Alailima says the case is important because it will clarify the constitutional clauses on the selection and dismissal of senators.

Faamausili was voted out after a number of his constituent chiefs sent a letter to the Senate asking that he be him removed.

The chiefs claimed the selection process was not in accordance with custom and so was unconstitutional

Mr Alailima disputes this.

"It is our position that once a Senator is sworn in challenges to his selection should end there and that subsequent discipline of a senator has to be done based upon what he does inside the Senate and not based upon a month or so later after he's been sitting and acting."

Mr Alaimali says there are also doubts about the legality of the chiefs' letter.