23 Apr 2007

Samoa leaders in spat over claims of corruption

7:43 pm on 23 April 2007

Samoa's Prime Minister and his government have been accused of institutionalized corruption by the leader of Samoa Democratic United party or SDUP, Asiata Sale'imoa Va'ai.

The SDUP leader told local reporters over the week-end that the ruling Human Rights Protection Party has imposed institutional corruption on the Samoan system of government during its twenty years in power.

But the Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, in response rubbished Asiata's accusations, calling him a very sick man.

Tuila'epa says the allegations show that Asiata has a very poor understanding of democracy in Samoa.

Asiata was critical of what he says is the childish way that MPs are treated and the executive domination of parliament with 36 of the 49 MPs in Cabinet.

He also claimed that there was intimidation of the public service by the appointing to cabinet of senior public servants and curbs on the independence of the controller and chief auditor.