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Governor denies rumors that he will advertise for new AG

Samoa News has continued to receive queries about the position of Attorney General — whether or not, the current AG — Afoa L Su’esu’e Lutu would be stepping down as reported in September of this year, and would the position be advertised.


Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has dismissed rumors circulating that the position for the Attorney General will be advertised when  AG Afoa steps down in January to take the senate seat for Fagatogo. Lolo told Samoa News this position will not be advertised and said, “I have several people on my mind for this position.”


In September Afoa accepted the offer to take the Senate seat which was initially endorsed for High Chief Tiumalu Telesia Scanlan. At the time, Afoa confirmed that he took up the offer presented by Tiumalu during a meeting held in the village council on the matter.


The senatorial seat at issue represents the villages of Fagatogo, Fagaalu and Utulei.


Afoa, who was a candidate for Governor in the last General Election was appointed by Governor Lolo as the Territory's Attorney General, and was the first political appointee announced by the new administration.


Governor Lolo said he and Lt Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga are looking at different candidates to take over the leadership of the AG's Office upon Afoa’s departure from among the qualified candidates they have in mind — but released no names.


The Governor’s Executive Assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira said the AG position Is very much on the mind of the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor and pointed out that this post is different from the other cabinet positions from the perspective that not only must that person meet the required qualifications, but he or she must have the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor's full faith and trust.


Samoa News points out that the three cabinet positions which were not advertised were Attorney General, Public Safety Commissioner, and the Secretary of Samoan Affairs. Instead, these positions were filled with those appointed by the governor, while with other directorship positions, the candidates filled in applications.


Afoa will take up his senate seat in January 2014 for the third regular session of the 33rd Legislature. Prior to being appointed as AG, Afoa was in private practice where he specialized in land and title matters, and is currently the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Korea in the territory.


He was also the Executive Director for the Constitutional Convention Office. Afoa has served as Chief Legislative Counsel and Director of the Legislative Reference Bureau (1997-2004); Special Legal Counsel to the Speaker of the House (1996-97);  Special Legal Counsel for Senate President (1989-92) and from 1992-1996 served in the House of Representatives, from District 7- Ma’oputasi (villages of Utulei, Gataivai and Fagaalu).


Earlier in his career (1985-1989) he served as the Attorney General for ASG and was also Chief Legal Counsel for the American Samoa Constitutional Convention (1986) and an Instructor of Juvenile Justice at ASCC.


Afoa received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Hawai'i, and his Juris Doctor degree from Valparaiso University Law School. He first opened private law practice in the territory in 1975.