25 Sep 2015

Samoa matai to settle unpaid family damages

4:18 pm on 25 September 2015

About thirty matai from Tanugamanono village in Samoa could be back in court after moves by another chief and former cabinet minister, Tupuola Afa Lesa.

Faumuina family

Faumuina family Photo: Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Tupuola wants a review of the court settlement last August over monthly payments to the family of Faumuina Tutuila who took the village council to court and won damages.

That money, about US$350,000, was to cover fire damage to their properties after the village council had ordered their destruction during a lengthy land dispute.

Tupuola wants a review of the settlement payments because several other defendants who are also matai of the village had successfully had themselves declared bankrupt.

The lawyer for the Faumuina family has told the court the move to declare bankruptcy is a clear indication the village council is trying to evade paying the damages.

She says it disrespects the dignity of the court and its ruling.