21 Jul 2011

Samoa police rule out foul play in death of Tuvalu minister

1:39 pm on 21 July 2011

The police in Samoa investigating the death of a Tuvalu government minister say they are ruling out foul play.

The Tuvalu Minister of Natural Resources, Isaia Italeli was found dead in his hotel room in Apia on Wednesday morning.

Mr Italeli, who was in his 40s, was in Samoa for the Forum Fisheries Ministers' Meeting which begins today.

The Assistant Police Commissioner Leaupepe Fatu Pula says police are yet to complete their examination of the death.

"There appears to be no foul play involved. It's most likely to be a natural cause of death. But however, police are still investigating this sudden death."

Leaupepe Fatu Pula says the police are hoping to pass on their findings to the coroner sometime today.

The Secretary to the Tuvalu Government Panapasi Nelesone says the government is now working to have the Minister's body returned to Tuvalu.