30 Jun 2020

Samoan MP resigns as suspension debate takes place

2:34 pm on 30 June 2020

A former Speaker of the House in Samoa, Laauli Leuatea Polataivao Schimidt, has resigned from Parliament halting debate over a Parliamentary Privileges Committee recommendation of a three month suspension for the former government MP.

Samoan MP, Laauli Leuatea Polataivao Schmidt

Samoan MP, Laauli Leuatea Polataivao Schmidt Photo: RNZ Pacific / Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Last month the Gagaifomauga 3 MP accepted a decision from Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi to leave the Human Rights Protection Part after a long-running dispute.

According to the Prime Minister, Laauli had breached party policy by not supporting a constitutional amendment for a new division of constituencies to be put in place for next year's general election.

More recently Laauli had been found guilty of misleading the House by a Parliamentary Committee over allegations regarding the sourcing of a generator for the country's new prison.

The MP has intervened in debate on the matter by tendering his resignation.

Laauli was investigated by the privileges committee because of allegations against Parliament's public accounts committee in January, over the cost of $US145,000 of a power generator for Tanumalala.

In their report tabled today, the committee said it did not find any proof of the allegations and found the MP misled Parliament.

Last week, in a separate incident, Laauli was found not guilty of more than 100 criminal charges in a case brought against him by an associate government minister over the affairs of a private nonu juice company.