19 Oct 2006

Controversy over age of head of Samoa UN police team bound for East Timor

5:23 pm on 19 October 2006

Several senior police officers in Samoa have questioned the police executive's selection policy for overseas mission after the appointment of a retired assistant police commissioner to lead the police contingent to East Timor.

The former assistant police commissioner, Tuitoga Poe Ualesi, was retired last month when he reached the normal retirement age of 55.

The head of the police overseas mission, Inspector Vui Tupe, says only current police officers are eligible under the selection criteria for peace keeping mission and not retirees and former police officers.

The Inspector points out that the UN peace keeping mission doesn't know anything about the appointment of the retired assistant commissioner.

But acting police commissioner, Papali'i Li'o, says the former assistant commissioner had applied before he retired.

Papali'i says the UN peace keeping mission allows retired officers of any age to serve as peace keepers as long as they are healthy and fit.

The Samoan contingent of 15 led by the retired assistant commissioner leave for East Timor today.