5 Apr 2012

Trial of former leader of Tautua Samoa Party for bribery begins

4:42 am on 5 April 2012

The trial of the former leader of the Tautua Samoa Party on bribery charges has begun in the Samoa District Court.

Va'ai Papu Vaelupe is facing 13 charges of bribery together with his sister Foilagi Masoe stemming from the 2011 general elections.

Vaai is alleged to have given 130 US dollars and a bottle of whisky to Fao Ualesi one of the high chiefs of Asau on the 4th January 2011.

Vaai told the Court he approached Fao, seeking to use him as a spokesperson for the Tautua Samoa Party as he was a good speaker and courageous.

He said he gave these gifts to Fao not long after the festive season and planned to reward him further if Tautua Samoa was elected but they did not discuss the elections.

On a separate incident, Va'ai is alleged to have given Fao 215 US dollars on the 14th January.

Va'ai won the parliamentary seat for his district but lost it when bribery charges against him were proven.

He now faces criminal charges under the amendments to the Electoral Act.