“ARE THE VICTIMS PROTECTED WHILE THE IP CONTINUES TO INVESTIGATE?”

Dear Editor,

It's been three months since the Independent Prosecutor Attorney David Vargas was appointed for one of the government cases involving the Governor’s Chief of Staff Fiu John Saelua. (See Samoa News 12/22/16)

A case involving several allegations, including:

1- Sexual assaults of the victim by the defendant.

2- Domestic assault.

3- The involvement of the Immigration officers on false declarations to lure the couple.

4- Kidnapping.

5- Illegal attempt to deport the victims, which was the straw that forced the victims to seek help.

All this information including names were filed in the police report 12/15/17, finally forwarded to the Attorney General’s office.

And now we sit and wait.

And, the longer it takes the Independent Prosecutor to do his investigation the easier it becomes for the offender and his supporters to stress out, harass, threaten and breakdown the victims and their family’s defenses.

One of the worst possible scenarios used is the ' devalued 'ifoga method' in order to bring Samoan victims to their knees and exploit the ava fatafata (ultimate respect) to forgive the offender.

Mind you these are exploited, simple immigrants whose futures and livelihoods depend on their sponsors.

We know the IP is working on two high profile cases. So - both can run and drag on for months to years.

My concern is while the IP is performing his investigation to decide whether or not to file charges, does it safeguard these political victims or will the time be used by the offending government against them as an underhanded way to deport them?

Sept. 21, 2017, 1130hrs.

I had spoken directly to the Deputy of Immigration Office Mrs. Faga, on my concern since previous sponsor Mrs. Sinuu refused to transfer sponsorship of the victim upon request.

Mrs. Faga quoted the law to me, witnessed by Mrs. Regina M.: "No one/ agency can touch the victims until the court case is finished". I asked about the Immigration status, she said, “Only the presiding Judge can render that decision.”

It is sad that the victims are now political hostages due to the eminence of the high ranking offender and the involvement of some officers from the Immigration office.

With all this silence and scuttlebutt, it leads me to believe, the will of the Immigration Board and our silent Honorable Governor will manipulate this situation  to trump JUSTICE in support of the Governor’s Chief of Staff  and the Chief of Immigration.

Ipu Avegalio Lefiti

Victim advocate

(Editor’s Note: Remember the last IP case, back in 2008 — where an IP was assigned to investigate and if deemed necessary to prosecute four AG Office employees for theft — the final case was heard this year, with a $1K fine and the IP told the judge that it had been so long ago that witnesses were no longer available and he believed that it wasn’t fair that only the defendant was charged? ra)

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