4 Oct 2013

Court in Samoa rules against former Speaker of Legislative Assembly

7:41 am on 4 October 2013

A court in Samoa has dismissed a civil case by the former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly who was seeking damage costs for a government vehicle involved in a crash in 2011.

Six legislative officers, including three senior employees were in the vehicle and on their way to a funeral when the accident happened at the village of Eva on the northern coast road of Upolu island.

Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua, who was the Speaker at the time of the crash, sought the cost of damage to the car claiming the vehicle was the property of the speaker.

His lawyer also pointed out that under the legislation (constitution), the speaker has authority and control over office equipment and chattels, including vehicles used in the day to day running of the Assembly.

However the court rule that while the legislation and the standing orders confers on the speaker control over the use and administration of all parliamentary grounds, buildings and structures there on, it does not bestow legal ownership in the office of the speaker.

The court also added Tolofuaivalelei's decision to be the plaintiff in the case was wrong.