2 Aug 2006

Samoa minister seeks to resign amid treating allegations

2:09 pm on 2 August 2006

Samoa's Minister of Broadcasting and Telecommunications, who is facing allegations of bribery and treating in an election petition, is awaiting a court ruling on whether he can immediately resign from parliament.

A lawyer for the Minister, Mulitalo Siafausa Vui, filed an application on the resignation bid before the petition case resumed today.

Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia reports from Apia.

"Observers say the move by the minister is political in order to avoid any conviction from the allegations he's facing. If the court accepts the application the minister will automatically be eligible to run again in a by-election. Mulitalo gave journalists covering his case copies of his decision saying that he's decided to step down because the petition has severely damaged the reputation of his constituency and village. However, after the presiding judges and lawyers discussed the matter in chambers, the minister then took the copies of his resignation back from the reporters. It is understood his resignation was handed in this morning to the Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, and the speaker Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua."