11 Feb 2005

Samoa PM accused of abusing power over residency extensions

8:14 am on 11 February 2005

An Opposition MP and former Speaker in Samoa has accused the Prime Minister and other Cabinet members of abusing their powers by allowing foreigners to stay and set up business in the country.

Aeau Peniamina alleged that foreigners are bypassing normal channels to extend stays in Samoa, by approaching ministers directly, who then grant them permission to stay.

Aeau couldn't say how many foreigners had been granted residency extensions in this way, but he told reporters there are many cases and he could provide documents.

The Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele responded on state television last night by challenging Aeau to provide proof.

Tuilaepa said if foreigners came to Samoa to work, and during that period qualified as local citizens then end up living there, then so be it.

Tuilaepa said such persons help develop the country.