Parliament accepts Committee’s recommendations

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Parliament accepted the recommendations by Privilege and Ethics Committee, to suspend without pay the Leader and the Secretary of the Human Rights Protection Party.

Yesterday the committee announced that Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi and Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi violated standing orders of Parliment.

This is in relation to Complaint lodged by the Deputy Prime Minister Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio after Tuilaepa and Leala were found  guilty of contempt of court for scandalising Judges.

Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, leader of the FAST political Party accepts the recommendation by the Privilege and Ethics Committee.

The Prime Minister also cited the “language used in Parliament” which has steered away from respect accorded to the Legislative Assembly.

Adding the events before Parliament should be a beacon reminding Members of Parliament that actions have consequences and such actions will not be tolerated in Parlaiment.

Fiame also pointed out the so call harmony agreement that has been mentioned several times in Parliament is called the “Deed of Settlement” and has nothing to do with Parliamentary procedures in relation to the matter beforehand.

She said the mandates of the settlement was fulfilled in relation to electoral peitiions “and it has nothing to do with what is being discussed before Parliament.”

The Prime Minister said electroal petitions filed against HRPP and filed against FAST were withdrawn, however when lawyers presented before the court, the agreement on the contempt case was not accepted.

“What I meant to say the  mandates of the agreement was honored but the decision by the Court to ignore the agreement [signed by both leaders] is at the discretion of the Judges. But we took action through our lawyers to withdraw the matter.

“I also want to make it clear this agreement pertains to matters before the court,” said Fiame.

Furthermore, Fiame said the agreement was attached in the response filed by Tuilaepa and Leala which is now in public violating the confidentiality clause of the agreement.

The notion behind comments that keeping the peace should be paramount and this matter shouldn’t be addressed in Parliament, but without that agreement both parties would suffere consequences.

“Now if that agreement wasnt considered there wouldnt be any peace at all, as MP’s from both sides would fall as a result,” said Fiame.

Leala attempted to intervened but the Speaker Lio Papalii Tase Masipa’u wouldn’t allow it.

Fiame proceeded by saying its apperant the comments rendered makes it seem like the Judiciary “is a joke” and that some MP’s have neglect the respect accorded in Parliament by making mockery remarks.

Adding that it is time to “eliminate from the core the unbecoming behavior and disrespect seen in Parliament. It is time pluck that behavior from the roots.”

Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi earlier on apologised to Parliament for comments uttered against the Judges of the Court which prompted a complaint by the Deputy Prime Minister.

Leala took the floor today after other MP’s voiced their comments and while others objected; others accepted the Committee’s report tabled before Parliament for final decision.

He appealed to Parliament to consider Tuilaepa’s long years of service of more than 40 years, also they have apolosied to the court for their actions.

Leala urged Members of Parliament to be compassionate and considerate of the years of service by the leader of the HRPP.

The recommendations was announced by the Chairman, of the Privilege and Ethics Committee, Valasi Tafito Selesele in the morning after he tabled the report by the Special Committee.

The Deputy Leader Fonotoe Lauofo Pierre told Parliament the matter before the court were comments uttered on social media and the court has already ruled on this issue and resulted in a “no penalty”.

The matter that was held before the court has no bearing on Parliament, given the matter specifically targeted the Judiciary.

He said it’s evident that this is the second time the MP’s have had to endure this matter, once before the court and again in Parliament; this is what they call double jeopardy and rejected the recommendation by the Committee.

The next sitting of Parliament 31 May 2022.