5 Mar 2021

Samoan PM dismisses Opposition concerns over inquiry

4:46 pm on 5 March 2021

Samoa's Prime Minister has dismissed claims by the Opposition FAST party that a Commission of Inquiry undermines the independence of Parliament.

Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi addressing Samoa on the measles epidemic.

Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi Photo: RNZ Pacific / Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

The Samoa Observer newspaper reported Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi saying the Opposition argument reflected ignorance.

During the last session of Parliament this week, Tuila'epa ordered the inquiry into four Opposition MPs, including his former deputy, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa for alleged treasonous activities and breaches of Standing Orders.

Tuila'epa said the MPs had been campaigning when they should have been in parliament.

But Fiame said she was not concerned by something that was "quite ridiculous".

The FAST leader La'auli Leuatea Polataivao Schmidt, who himself is a former Speaker of the House, said the decision to appoint individuals outside of Parliament to investigate representatives of constituencies is a sign that Parliament was being controlled from the outside.

But the Tuila'epa said it was not possible to appoint a Privileges and Ethics Committee to look into the matter because Parliament was being dissolved ahead of next month's election.

The prime minister said as such committees were disbanded, there was a need for a group of external, professional people to look into the matter.