19 Feb 2011

Tautua Samoa candidate fails to convince court of village service requirement

7:39 am on 19 February 2011

The Tautua Samoa party's only election candidate willing to run against the prime minister in the Lepa constituency will not be competing in next month's election.

This follows a decision by the court yesterday saying it was not convinced, Tu'ula Kiliri Lafi, met the village service or monotaga requirement under the Electoral Act's new provision.

Tu'ula's testimony in court was in response to the Electoral Commissioner and village Pulenuu affidavits stating he had performed no village service.

Tu'ula admitted he did not attend weekly village fono or meetings, but insisted he had always rendered a village service by giving money to his aunt residing in Saleapaga village for the monotaga.

He also told the court he had donated food and money to the village as part of preparations for the one year memorial service of the 2009 tsunami service there.

However, the chief justice said monotaga is a service performed in the village by any matai through service to the church and the village, as well as attending weekly meetings.

The chief justice will also deliver today his full decision on the cases of other Tautua Samoa party candidates and an independent candidate seeking declaratory orders.