25 May 2015

Former Samoa minister left to pay compensation

2:36 pm on 25 May 2015

A prominent Samoan accountant and auditor who is a former government minister, Matatauali'itia Afa Lesa, is to pay a family compensation of 350,000 US dollar after the court declared eight other defendants in the case bankrupt.

Court house in Samoa

Court house in Samoa Photo: RNZ / Mary Baines

The eight people, including several village matais of Tanugamanono village, have recently been released from jail.

They were jailed earlier this month when they failed to make their due payments on time.

Matatauali'itia was among nine residents from the same village who were ordered by the court to pay the compensation in monthly payments.

The family of Faumuina Tutuila, who is banished from the village, had been awarded the compensation after destruction of property as a result of a land dispute with members of the Congregational Christian Church of Tanugamanono.

The chief executive of the Ministry of Justice, Masinalupe Tusipa Masinalupe, says it's easy for prominent figures to apply for a declaration of bankruptcy.

But he says a new amendment of the law requires a government assignee to investigate the honesty of such a declaration.

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