24 Oct 2006

Samoa's government may face legal action

12:18 pm on 24 October 2006

The Samoa government could be sued over a reclaimed island that belongs to the villages of Moata'a and Vaiala near Apia, and which is now the site of a new hotel.

The government last month signed a lease with a New Zealand businessman for the island to be used for a tourist resort.

A resident of Moata'a and Vaiala, Eti Sapolu, has told the Sunday Samoan newspaper the island should be returned to the two villages.

The man, who had been living on the island for over 35 years has accused the government of ordering police to arrest his brother who was on the island last week, and to dismantle their house.

But the police minister, Tole'afoa Apulu Fa'afisi, says the New Zealand developer, Gordon Taylor, who is leasing the island, had lodged a complaint to the police for the removal of Mr Sapolu's house.