27 Mar 2006

Samoa's Prime Minister considers legal action for defamation

7:06 pm on 27 March 2006

Samoa's prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele, is seeking legal advice from the Attorney General on whether claims by the political parties SDUP and Samoa Party constitute defamation.

The Samoa Post newspaper reports that the PM's request follows the release of a campaign pamphlet endorsed by the Samoa Democratic United Party and Samoa Party which accuses the government of selling communal lands to the World Bank and the International Development Agency.

The pamphlet which is printed in the Samoan language accuses the government of secretly drafting changes to the constitution to allow communal lands to be sold or used as collateral for loans from major lending institutions such as the World Bank.

Tuilaepa has denied his party is contemplating any such change and says the opposition claims are attempts to mislead voters.

The PM says the claims amount ot blatant defamation.

Tuilaepa has asked the Attorney General to review whether there are sufficient grounds for the government to file a defamation suit.