Samoa Supreme Court voids former PM Tuilaepa and Lealailepule suspension

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi

The Samoa Supreme Court today ruled that the suspension of former Prime Minister the leader of the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) Tuilaepa Sailele Malilegaoi and party secretary Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi for two years was unconstitutional and therefore voided the suspension of the opposition members.

Chief Justice, Satiu Simativa Perese and Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke handed down the ruling this afternoon.

HRPP Leader and veteran MP for Lepa, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi and Faleata no3 member, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi have been suspended for nine months denying their electorates voice in the House.

Chief Justice Satiu said the decision of Tuilaepa and Lealailepule breached article 44 (1) of the Constitution and framework of a Constitution of responsible and representative government and the suspension therefore void. 

In a brief interview outside Court, Leala said this is the answer from God and thanked all their supporters.

The senior members were prohibited from entering Parliament premises in an unprecedented secret ballot in October last year. 

They have been without pay since and sought refuge from the Court appealing their suspension on grounds their constitutional rights have been infringed and voice of electorates denied in the Assembly.

Prior to their two years’ suspension Tuilaepa and Leala were suspended indefinitely by a Parliamentary Committee for breaching parliamentary privileges.  The Supreme Court later voided their indefinite suspension referring the matter back to the Legislative Assembly in which it imposed a two years’ suspension.