15 Nov 2016

Samoa cabinet suspends police commissioner

9:00 am on 15 November 2016
Samoa's Police Commissioner Egon Keil

Samoa's Police Commissioner Egon Keil Photo: RNZI / Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Samoa's cabinet has suspended the country's police commissioner, who is facing a range of criminal charges including incitement to murder.

Fuiavailili Egon Keil was detained on Monday morning on his first day back at work after earlier being suspended over separate criminal charges in relation to the wrongful arrest of a man last year.

Those charges were dismissed by the Supreme Court last week.

In the latest case Fuiavailili faces seven charges including incitement to murder, use of a dangerous weapon and threatening language in relation to a police raid on Faleatiu village earlier this year.

In a statement, the acting prime minister, Tuitama Dr Talaleilei Tuitama, said it was important proper processes were followed, and Commissioner Keil has been suspended with immediate effect.

Tuitama said there was no cause for the public to be concerned and police services would continue as usual with acting commissioners.

Our correspondent in Apia, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, reports more charges are expected to be filed.

He said another police officer was also charged when a scuffle broke out between officers during the police chief's arrest.

"There was some division between the arresting officers and some of the officers who are in support of the commissioner which resulted to one of the police constables being put into custody."

Earlier close to 40 police officers signed a petition expressing no-confidence in the commissioner.

The leaked petition accused him of breaching the law and was signed by members of the executive body of the Ministry of Police.

It said there was evidence to support their call for a Commission of Inquiry.

Fuiavailili Egon Keil is due in court on November 28.