The Speaker of the House Li’o Papali’i Ta’eu Masipa’u, admits existing loopholes in the Standing Orders and the Legislative Privileges Ordinance following the decision by the Supreme Court declaring the indefinite suspension of HRPP members void.
The Supreme Court ruled that Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi and Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi of the Human Rights Protection Party were not given a chance to address the penalty levelled by Parliament in May, after they were found to be in violation of standing orders.
This is a result of a formal complaint by Deputy Prime Minister Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio lodged against the two senior MPs claiming they had brought Parliament into disrepute after their conviction by the Supreme Court on contempt of court charges.
The Speaker who is a lawyer by profession welcomes the decision by Supreme Court and said “it’s an eye opener and the decision calls for a review of its Stand Orders.”
Adding that Tuilaepa and Leala should be reinstated, but there are minor issues that need to be sorted out before that can be finalised.
The Speaker did not go into details other than that the decision of the Court will result in revamping the Standing Orders of Parliament to ensure that all the loopholes are eliminated.
Last week the Supreme Court found that Parliament’s disciplinary rules and practice do not give the persons who are the subject of adverse recommendations by the Privileges and Ethics Committee, the opportunity to be heard as to penalty before the Assembly.
“This is a failure which breaches a fundamental plank of the rules of fairness that are secured in Article 9(1) of the Constitution – the right to be heard.