STA board: “there is insufficient evidence to warrant dismissal of CEO”


The Samoa Tourism Board says the Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Tourism Authority, Fa’amatuainu Lenata’i Suifua should be given a warning and should return to work.

This was confirmed in a “resolution” issued by the STA board dated 1 June 2022 as part of the Paper for the Cabinet’s consideration.

Fa’amatuainu was placed on leave in February 2022 pending an investigation by the Board following complaints by STA staff and a former employee lodged with the Minister of Toesulusulu and Minister of Public Enterprises Leatinuu Wayne So’oialo.

The complainants accused the CEO of misconduct including claims of a $10,000 contract awarded solely to his carpenter, which Fa’amatuainu denied.

Radio Polynesia obtained three copies of the complaints lodged against the CEO over claims of Government properties allegedly taken to his residences, such as cement, roofing iron, plywood, and tiles; which Fa’amatuainu vehemently denied taking any part in removing of Government properties.

According to the “resolution” the Board met to discuss the investigation report and the CEO’s responses.

“Director Muaausa Nofoaifoga Uili excused herself from the meeting as she was part of the investigation Committee, however, she advised us that she will agree with the majority.

“The Board of Directors has considered advice given by the Attorney General’s office on the investigation report.

“The [Ministry of Finance] which has included the Term of Reference for this investigation committee did not take part in the investigation and decided to do their own investigation.

“MOF are yet to provide their finalised opinion to the Board of directors but the Board feels that it can no longer wait, and as a result will make its decision based on what they have to date.

“The decision was unanimously agreed on by those in attendance at the meeting.”

The Board agreed there is “insufficient evidence to warrant the dismissal of the CEO” and they resolved the CEO should be issued a “warning” and that he should return to work.

Also, his contract should be extended until the recruitment process is completed and the new CEO is appointed.

The Board also asked Cabinet to note the current contract of the CEO.

When the complaints surfaced, the CEO questioned the timing of the complaint letters filed against him by his subordinates.

Fa’amatuainu old Radio Polynesia the complaint letters surfaced at the time his contract has ended and he’s re-applied for another three years to carry out his work as Chief Executive Officer. 

In March, Fa’amatuainu was criminally charged by the Police for insulting words.

This is in connection to a criminal complaint lodged by one of the STA staff, Kerisimasi Melani Tunufa’i over allegations of insulting words in an incident last December.

The charge of insulting words against Fa’amatuainu was confirmed by Acting Police Commissioner, Papalii Monalisa Keti in response to questions from Radio Polynesia.