7 Nov 2013

Samoan police retract statement on charges against ministers

8:10 pm on 7 November 2013

Samoa's acting Police Commissioner has retracted comments about police laying charges against the deputy prime minister Fonotoe Nuafesili Pierre Lauofo and an associate minister.

Leiataua Aviga Salale has issued a press release, saying police have not completed their enquiries and the Attorney-General will review the report before any decision is made.

This follows an incident last month when Fonotoe allegedly instructed the Associate Minister, Muagututagata Peter Ah Him, to drive away as police were trying to conduct a breath test.

Yesterday, our correspondent, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, spoke to the Minister of Police and Prisons, Sala Fata Pinati, who confirmed that the two would be charged.

Autagavaia says he then spoke to the acting Police Commissioner, who repeated the same and said police had already attempted to serve the ministers.

"He said to me they were going to serve them the summons with the charges, and he told me about the charges. One against the deputy prime minister of obstruction of police and one charge against the associate minister of failing to comply with the regulation of being breath tested by the traffic police officers."

Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia says he can't understand why the acting police commissioner would change his story.

Muagututagata has lodged a complaint against a police officer who breath-tested him.