Police investigates defamation claims against Tuilaepa

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Leader of the Human Rights Protection Party Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi is the subject of a Police Investigation following a complaint lodged by Minister of Works Transport and Infrastructure Olo Fiti Vaai for “defamation”. 

The Police investigation was confirmed by Police Commissioner Auapa’au Logoitino Filipo in response to questions from Radio Polynesia. 

“Complaint was lodged two weeks ago and Police are investigating this matter and interviewing relevant parties,” said Auapa’au. 

He also confirmed the complaint of defamation is in relation to the Government Landcruiser purchased to use by Minister Olo for work purposes. 

In June, Minister of Works Transport and Infrastructure Olo Fiti Vaai dismissed claims the Government Landcruiser that he is using with a private license plate is registered under his name.

He also explained there is a legitimate reason why the vehicle has a private license plate, rather than a Government plate indicating that it is the property of the Government.

In an earlier interview with Radio Polynesia, Olo said the vehicle that cost $200,000 has been purchased and used for Government purposes, such as site visits. Adding that initially a $50,000 tala from the Samoa Airport Authority budget was used to make a deposit for the vehicle.

However, those funds have been reimbursed from the waterfront project that had leftover funding yet it was near the closing of the project.

But, the explanation did not sit well with the suspended MP for Lepa, Tuilaepa rubbished the explanation Olo on why the Government vehicle has been registered as a private vehicle.

In a letter to the Editor back in June, the leader of the HRPP Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi says Government policy under Good Governance Principles requires the Prime Minister and all Ministers of Cabinet for government, vehicles to be ordered through their Ministries, and not through Corporations.

“In this way, vehicles are standardized and cheaper and their proper usage will be more easily accountable. Buying second-hand vehicles for use by Ministers was never a Government policy, nor was it permitted under donor project assistance.

Public criticisms have been raised on a V8 vehicle bought by the Minister of Works from Australia using public funds, but carrying a private plate number.”