17 Oct 2017

Supreme Court hearing set for former Samoa govt minister

8:08 am on 17 October 2017

A two week hearing has been scheduled in Samoa's Supreme Court for the trial of the former government minister, Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt.

His co-defendants include two other directors and an employee of the Nonu juice company as well as his wife.

The trial is scheduled for July next year.

Samoa’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries

Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt Photo: RNZ Pacific / Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

It comes after their defence lawyer entered a not guilty plea against 233 criminal charges.

The former minister is facing 161 charges including obtaining and causing loss by deception, theft and forgery.

The former president of the Journalist Association of Samoa, Apulu Lance Polu is facing 51 charges, while the other director Martin Schwalger is only charged with one count of forgery.

The employee, Tu'itu'i Aiolupo, is facing 13 charges and the former minister's wife, Heather Tupea Schmidt, is charged with seven counts including theft, and causing loss by deception.

The defendants have been released on bail after surrendering their travel documents.

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