Another ‘lost’ overstayer — arrest warrant issued
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — This past week, the Immigration Office still had not located overstayer Kalava Sefo, for which a bench warrant was issued after he failed to appear in District Court for a pretrial conference earlier this month.
Sefo, 31, is charged with assault and public peace disturbance for an incident that occurred Christmas Eve in Aua village, where he assaulted a 59-year-old man.
Samoa News spoke to an Immigration officer who confirmed that the sponsor has denied any knowledge of Sefo's whereabouts. According to the sponsor, no contact has been made with Sefo since December.
Sefo's immigration ID expired May 9, 2018 but a renewal could not be processed because he owed money to the LBJ Medical Center.
Sefo was released to the custody of the Immigration Office last December, with an order from Judge Fiti Sunia that his immigration papers be up to date the next time he appears in court (which was last Thursday).
But Sefo didn't show.
An immigration officer had informed the court that Sefo's sponsor "terminated sponsorship two weeks ago", and Immigration has a copy of the termination letter on file.
Samoa News understands that Immigration officers went to three different locations late last week to look for Sefo, but were unsuccessful.
No pretrial conference date is set, as a bench warrant has been issued, meaning Sefo will be arrested once located, and will appear in court thereafter.
District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea granted a motion from prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Jason Mitchell this past Wednesday morning, to dismiss the government's case against Falaniko Fetoai.
However, Fetoai remains in custody, for a separate matter that is now before the High Court.
During Wednesday's court proceedings, presiding Judge Elvis P. Patea asked defense attorney, private counsel Talaimalo Marcellus Uiagalelei if the District Court case against his client is related to the matter now before the High Court.
Uiagalelei said no.
Judge Patea noted that the charges against Fetoai stem from an incident that occurred in April 2018. According to a family member, Fetoai was arrested and charged following an altercation at his family guesthouse.
He was picked up in April while out on bail for a prior matter, where he was charged with first degree assault and other traffic violations for an alleged incident that occurred in Pago Pago in November 2017.
For that incident, Fetoai is alleged to have hit a woman with his vehicle.