31 Jan 2009

Two senior Samoa police officers escape criminal charges over gun smuggling

8:00 am on 31 January 2009

Samoa's Police Commissioner, Papalii Lorenese Neru, and the captain of the police boat MV Nafanua, Logoitino Filipo, will not face a criminal investigation over the smuggling of firearms.

The pair were been found in breach of duty by a Commission of Inquiry into the smuggling of firearms from American Samoa last April.

The commission recommended that the Attorney General oversee a criminal investigation into the two senior police staff, the Commission's report was then sent to onto Cabinet.

Last night, the prime minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, announced Cabinet's decision.

Tuilaepa says members of the Commission, as well as the police commissioner, were again called before cabinet for further inquiries on some of the crucial parts of the report before Cabinet finalised its decision.

The Cabinet decision sees Logoitino Filipo demoted, and the police commissioner has been severely censured and ordered to prepare a proper registration procedure of weapons before keeping them in the police armoury.

Cabinet has also ordered an annual audit report of all weapons, and to keep all records of guns and ammunitions used and removed from the armoury all the time.

Meanwhile the CEO of the Ministry of Revenue and Customs has been ordered to thoroughly search and investigate any incoming vessels that do not provide the required documents.