DHS investigates case involving sex-for-money, a woman from Samoa, and 4 high-ranking chiefs
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Department of Homeland Security (DHS) director Samana Semo Ve’ave’a has confirmed that their investigation regarding claims of a woman from Samoa whom authorities allege is trying to extort money from prominent local men, is nearing completion.
The woman in the middle of all this, told Samoa News during a one-on-one interview last week, that she has photographs and videos to support her argument — that she is the victim.
Samana told Samoa News last week that there are several issues they need to look at before they nalize their investigation. And some of these issues, he said, include the business the woman is affiliated with while on island, and also statements from the prominent men named in this case.
The DHS director said that he has already spoken to one of the four men involved in this case, and he has advised him that he needs to come forward, and explain his side of the story. The director denied allegations by the woman that the reason the investigation is stalled is because the American Samoa Government (ASG) does not want to identify the men involved in this case.
“I don’t agree with that. I already spoke to one of the four men involved in this matter, who also is said to be the main person of interest in this case, and I advised him that he needs to step up and reveal everything so we can move forward with our investigation,” Samana told Samoa News.
According to Samana based on the information they have, the woman is a citizen of Samoa, who filed a complaint with police, alleging that several local prominent men sexually took advantage of her.
At the same time, she was demanding large sums of money from the men and threatened to go public with the photos and videos she has.
Samana said that the four men are all military retirees who hold high-ranking matai titles in their respected districts.
“Our department is conducting our own investigation into this woman’s activities, not only the case involving these prominent men, but also this woman’s new business,” said Samana, who said the woman was initially here to sell “Lopa necklaces” but apparently fell out of favor with local business owners she dealt with.
A source told Samoa News that when this case came to light at the beginning of this year, police were notified and a stop order was issued to stop the woman from leaving the territory until the investigation is completed. Speaking to Samoa News last week, the woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said her attorney, along with detectives of the DPS Criminal Investigation Division (CID) have advised her not to speak to the media regarding her case. “A detective who’s handling my case advised me not to speak to the media. He told me once I speak to the media regarding this case, there will be no case and I will be deported back to Samoa,” the woman said.
About the stop order, the woman said the reason why the Attorney General’s Office issued the stop order against her was based on the fact that she is a witness, and the government needs her in this case.
During the interview, the woman kept saying she is “the victim” and the men who allegedly had sex with her are the ones that should be charged.
“I know the reason why the government did not want to move forward with this case, it’s because they don’t want to reveal the identity of these men involved,” the woman said. She then mentioned the names of two of the four prominent men allegedly involved.
She said nobody could deport her to Samoa because she’s a US citizen, and she is married to a U.S National.
“I’m the victim in this case,” the woman claims. She said she went to local victims advocate Ipu Lefiti to seek help regarding this matter in the beginning of this year; however, Lefiti turned around and reported the matter to Samana, which led to the police investigation.
When asked about her busi- ness of selling ‘Lopa necklaces’, the woman confirmed that she did own that business but it’s now been transferred to her brother.
Two local businesswomen told Samoa News that Samana and his team of special agents need to look at the business this woman is involved with, because she’s running an illegal operation on island, under a stop order by the AG’s Office.
Speaking to Samoa News, Lefiti said the matter was transferred to DHS after she found no evidence to prove that the woman is the victim in this case.
“After listening to her statement, I made the decision that this case was about a casual sexual relationship. The motive is to extort money or favors by applying pressure through threats of exposure and if all fails, photos and videos of the sexual relationships will be produced,” Lefiti said.