Samoa Associate Minister sacked after alleged misuse of passport

Fepulea’i Fa’asavalu Su’a

Samoa’s Associate Minister of Police, Fepulea’i Fa’asavalu Su’a has been asked to resign from his post following his recent trip to American Samoa, reports Samoa News.

He allegedly used his diplomatic passport without a permit or an okay board to enter the territory.

Senior Immigration officers, who are not allowed to speak to the media, confirmed this with Samoa News.

It’s alleged that local immigration officers detained him, and he was later released.

Police Commissioner Auapa’au Logoitino Filipo confirmed to Samoa News from Samoa that the incident in American Samoa led to the removal of Fepulea’i from office.

He said the Cabinet ordered the police to seize government assets including the vehicle from the outgoing Associate Minister.

Samoa Observer out of Apia reported that highly placed Samoa government officials have confirmed that the instruments for his removal were approved and effected on Friday by the Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa before flying out of the country on duty travel.

They made attempts to get comments from the Acting Prime Minister Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio, as well as the Minister for Police, Prisons and Corrections Services, Faualo Harry Schuster, but were unsuccessful. Attempts were also made to reach out to Fepulea’i on Saturday to confirm his sacking, but his phone rang out.

The Observer was advised that the Prime Minister’s decision to sack Fepulea’i is connected to an American Samoa immigration-related matter where he allegedly travelled without a permit and did not have an “okay board” upon arriving in the U.S. territory.

He was allegedly detained by the Immigration Department in the territory as he tried to use his “diplomatic passport” to be released. 

The Associate Minister’s sacking comes on the back of a case last month when the MP for Faleata No. 3 Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi – who is also the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) secretary – lodged a complaint with the Police against Fepulea’i.

The Opposition MP told a media conference that two witnesses had stepped forward alleging Fepulea’i was aiding Sam and his wife. He added that more witnesses are stepping forward in support of his case. Sam Su’a claimed he was the eyewitness to the hit-and-run case of 18-year-old Tuuau Faasavalu in April 2021 and alleged that Lealailepule was the driver of the vehicle that killed the teenager.

Contacted by Samoa News for a comment, the Associate Minister of Police, Fepuleai said he had no knowledge of what Lealailepule was accusing him. He also denied picking up Sam and his wife and transporting them to a hotel, where Lealailepule alleged that his witnesses claimed the man was being hidden.

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