Opposition Leader, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, has indicated that he and the Human Rights Protection Party will launch legal action against the government over the decision to suspend him and senior party members Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi from Parliament indefinitely.
In a letter to the Editor published yesterday in local media, Tuilaepa said the sole reason for the one-day session of Parliament was so he and Lealailepule could be suspended.
He said both of them are in the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament and their suspension comes 7 days before the tabling of the Faatuatua I le Atua Samoa ua Tasi government 2022/23 main budget.
“When this motion was first tabled in Parliament, both Hon Tuilaepa and Hon Lealailepule wrote to the Speaker Hon Papali’i Li’o Ta’eu Masipa’u pointing out the motion was illegal and he should therefore dismiss it,” wrote Tuilaepa.
He said, Standing Orders 185 of Parliament stipulates that a contempt action on a matter of privilege must be an action that clearly hinders Parliament (or an MP) from the performance of its/his duties.
“Therefore, the allegation has no legal basis under the Standing Orders.”
Tuilaepa also pointed out that Section 187 of the same Standing Orders on penalties stipulates that any member found guilty of contempt of the Assembly may be suspended for such a period as it may determine.
“Not only did the two members not commit any action to warrant their suspension but the suspension motion itself is illegal as it failed to state a definite period.”
Under suspension the pair has also been denied their usual privileges payments during their suspension.