19 Oct 2022

Two leading Samoa opposition MPs suspended from parliament for two years

2:10 pm on 19 October 2022
The leader of the HRPP party, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi

Opposition Human Rights Protection Party Leader, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi Photo: RNZ Pacific/Tipi Autagavaia

Samoa's parliament has voted to uphold a recommendation to suspend two members for 24 months.

Opposition Human Rights Protection Party leader and former prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, and party secretary, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi, were asked to leave the parliament.

Former Tautua Samoa MP Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi

Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi Photo: RNZI Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

In May, the two members of the HRPP were suspended indefinitely in relation to being convicted of contempt of court charges.

But the pair challenged the suspension and the supreme court ordered their reinstatement.

Part of the supreme court decision said the "indefinite suspension" penalty was wrong because the pair were not given a chance to defend themselves.

But it also said parliament should revisit the penalty.

The new suspension decision was rendered in a vote of 29 MPs who supported the recommendation by the Privileges and Ethics Committee to suspend the pair for 24 months.

19 MPs voted against it.

Speaker of the House Li'o Papalii Taau Masipa'u announced the decision at the conclusion of parliament on Tuesday evening.

"The decision is effective immediately as per standing orders," Li'o said.