19 Jan 2011

Samoa MP Toluono denies theft charges

4:04 pm on 19 January 2011

An MP, who is one of the Tautua Samoa candidates in the election in March, Toluono Feti Toluono, has denied 15 charges, including theft and fraud relating to the unlawful transfer of ownership of freehold land.

The Palauli constituency MP has entered a not guilty plea through his lawyer.

Our correspondent in Samoa, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, says Toluono has been ordered by the chief justice, Patu Falefau Sapolu, to surrender his travel documents and report to the police criminal investigation branch twice a week.

He says Toluono's trial has been set for the May the 9th.

Autagavaia says the family who owns the land first took the matter to the Supreme court as a civil case.

"The court had ruled that the transfer of the ownership and the sale of the land was done in a very unlawful way and the chief judge in his ruling was saying it was a fraud. Now the family who owns the land took the matter again further to the police and filed a complaint where the criminal charges are now being faced by the MP."

Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia says Maselina Stowers, who was having an affair with the MP, is also facing charges of false pretence and fraud relating to the same matter.

She entered a guilty plea to both charges and will be sentenced on January 31st.