30 Dec 2016

Samoa tables amendment to give prosecutors powers to Attorney General

2:17 pm on 30 December 2016

Samoa's Prime Minister has tabled a constitutional amendment bill aimed at removing the appointment of the Director of Public Prosecutions and returning its powers and duties to the Attorney General.

The Prime Minister of Samoa Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi.

The Prime Minister of Samoa Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi. Photo: RNZI/Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi presented the bill for its first reading last week during the last sitting of parliament for 2016.

The Samoa Observer reports the Attorney General, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff as saying the change will decrease the cost of operating a separate prosecution arm.

He said it will also lessen instances of conflict of interest with the Attorney General overseeing all prosecution cases.

The Observer also said the National Prosecutions Office, (NPO), and the office of the Attorney General were recently separated.

In September the NPO moved against Lemalu's decision to hire a New Zealand lawyer to prosecute criminal charges against the Police Commissioner.

Director of Public Prosecution Mauga Precious Chang (LEFT) has been charged with traffic offences.

The suspended Director of Public Prosecutions, Mauga Precious Chang, (left) was found not guilty of three charges of traffic offences. Photo: Tipi Autagavaia

The acting director of the NPO also clashed with the Attorney General in October over who would prosecute the Director of Prosecutions Mauga Precious Chang who was suspended after being charged with driving offences.

She was found not guilty earlier this month.

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