16 Jun 2016

Court called on to quash arrest warrant for Samoan minister

2:21 pm on 16 June 2016

A court in American Samoa has been asked to quash an arrest warrant for a former lawyer in the territory who is now Samoa's Minister of Justice.

High Court in Fagatogo, American Samoa

High Court in Fagatogo, American Samoa. Photo: noaa

The motion was filed early this week on behalf of the minister Fa'aolesa Katopau Ainu'u who was charged in 2008 with embezzlement, fraud and theft.

It is alleged when Fa'aolesa was a local licensed attorney, he received $5,000 from a client for legal services he failed to provide.

His defence argued Fa'aolesa represented the client several times in court before transferring the case to another attorney because of his move to Samoa.

The client, who is the complainant in the case, died last year and his widow does not want to pursue the matter.

The lawyer for the defence also argued Fa'aolesa had no knowledge of a police investigation and accusations against him, and was never served with an arrest warrant.

The lawyer says the first time Fa'aolesa became aware of the existence of an arrest warrant was earlier this year when stories were published in the news media.