Ruling HRPP bows to growing pressure
After several months of debate, secret meetings and petitions, the decision came down to the Samoan Minister of Finance, Faumuina Tiatia Faaolatane Liuga for him to heed the calls to resign. In his two hour long response to the Chief Auditor’s report where he attempted to comment on all the accusations made against him including claims of reckless spending, Faumuina was clearly emotional, almost choking at times and expressed his apology to the country and to the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi. Twice when the Prime Minister was overseas reports of secret meetings by members of the governing Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) were held and MPs signed a petition to get rid of him.
The first petition in fact was made in August last year when reports of the US$254,000 office of the Minister surfaced. The Prime Minister then put the notion at an HRPP caucus and just two MPs called for his removal, insisting that the Finance Minister should leave his post. The rest however voted that Faumuina ought to continue. After that the Opposition Party Tautua Samoa took up the call for Faumuina’s resignation and pushed the issue continuously in its fortnightly media conferences. Then the change in the construction plan of the produce market at Fugalei only added fuel to the fire.
The first plan which cost $635,539 was simply discarded while another plan and construction company were given the job. Next was the Lands Corporation report which showed discrepancy and more pressing, the approval for members of this corporation to own land at minimal cost. Next was the $85,000 vehicle for the Minister, this again resulted in another meeting and another petition and this time the Prime Minister was in New York at the opening of the Year for Small Island States. One of the MPs for the HRPP Tuuu Anasii Leota announced that he and a handful of HRPP MPs were leaving the party and Tuuu himself was to lead a new party.
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