Complaint lodged with LTC against Lepea Village Council, over banishment


Three people who were banished from the village of Lepea over the alleged assault of the former Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi, have filed a complaint with the Lands and Titles Court against the decision of Faumuina Opapo Oeti and the village council Lepea. 

This was confirmed in a letter addressed to the President of the LTC, Lesatele Rapi Vaai dated 17, January 2023 obtained by Radio Polynesia. 

Following the service of the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration two weeks ago, a woman in her 70’s collared Tuilaepa and broke his ulafala as a result.

The complaint was endorsed by Patu Patu Vitale; Tura Phillip-Bertrand and Feaua’i Vaitagutu and they claim the “banishment is unlawful” and “is in violation of their rights afforded under the Village Fono Act 1990.”

Furthermore, the complaint cited the decision was made without their input and thorough investigation. 

“It appears the decision was made based on one-sided information, yet we should have been given the opportunity to defend ourselves.” 

According to the complaint in the early hours of the 16th of January, the village council met and afterwards, the chiefs informed them to leave Lepea by 4 pm and the chiefs were unable to give an explanation as to why they concluded to such an “uncompassionate decision to oust us from the village.”

The complaint letter further cited that the incident did not occur in Lepea therefore it does not warrant such a harsh decision.

Also, Tuileapa did not file a criminal complaint against Ms Tura who assaulted him and witnesses have confirmed with the police that Vitale and Feauai did not assault Tuilaepa rather they were the ones that attempted to stop the commotion. 

The letter further stated that Faumuina and their family have a pending case in the LTC over the Chiefly title Vaitagutu.