24 Oct 2006

Samoan family says government wrong to lease island to developer without warning residents

4:14 pm on 24 October 2006

The government in Samoa has been accused of unfairly leasing an island to a New Zealand developer without warning the two residents.

Saute Sapolu and his brother Eti say they have lived on Taumesina Island near Apia for more than three decades.

Saute was arrested on trespass charges last week and the fale belonging to him and his brother was demolished by police, who say they received complaints from the developer.

Saute Sapolu is still being held in custody and his brother, Eti ,said they had no warning that the action was being taken.

"My brother comes over help plant I was so surprised they took him off like that and arrested him."

Eti Sapolu

Their sister, lawyer Iuni Sapolu, says there are questions over whether the government had any right to lease the land: