Pacific News Briefs
THREE SAMOA MEN IN CUSTODY ON MURDER CHARGES
Samoa police have charged three men with murder following the death of a 43-year-old man at a village east of the Faleolo International Airport last weekend.
TV1 Samoa reported police as saying the victim was drinking alcohol with the three accused men at Sapulu village when a fight broke out which is alleged to have led to his death.
A police investigation resulted in the arrest of the three men who were in custody awaiting court appearances on 26 February.
Their names were not released.
ENVOY HIGHLIGHTS SAMOA’S SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE US
The United States, for more than a century, has enjoyed close bilateral relations with the Government and people of Samoa.
The point was highlighted by the U.S. Ambassador to Samoa and New Zealand, Scott Brown, in Samoa last week. He was speaking during a reception at Vailima to commemorate the U.S.-funded school renovations at Safata District and other projects.
In attendance was the Head of State, His Highness Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mataafa, Cabinet Ministers, Members of the diplomatic corps, and invited guests.
Mr. Brown said Samoa and the U.S. had enjoyed long-term economic benefits.
“You may have noticed many American companies and products are already present in Samoa. U.S. companies employing Samoans include McDonald’s, Ford Motors, Sheraton, Coconuts Beach Resort, Western Union, National Pacific Insurance, Matson Shipping, First Solar, and Netvo,” he said.
“And South Pacific Distributors just commenced selling its beverage products in Samoa this week and another American company, Dr. Bronner’s is going to start using Samoan coconut oil to produce its soap products this year.”
“Samoan fishing vessels can offload their catch directly at the StarKist Cannery in American Samoa. This has been a fantastic win-win situation for the fishing industry in both of our countries.”
Mr. Brown explained: “The United States also makes indirect gestures of friendship to Samoa through the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Global Climate Fund, and I.M.F. This assistance includes large grants and low interest loans for infrastructure projects that promote economic development.
“Our Government has also built a hospital to help with the average Samoan’s medical needs, and refurbished schools to make sure your children are given every opportunity for the best education. U.S.A.I.D, our development agency, has worked with you on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.”
“Our Peace Corps presence here is a daily reminder of our commitment to you and our pledge to continue to work together in every corner of your islands to help where we can.”
The U.S, being Samoa’s second largest trading partner and close neighbour, allows both countries to enjoy extensive cross-cultural ties, robust trade with one another, and also confront similar economic, environmental, and sustainable fishing challenges and concerns.
“The United States-Samoa bilateral relationship is consistently strong and mutually beneficial. We look for ways to partner with Samoa on economic development, raise Samoa’s maritime domain awareness capability, address climate change and manage its effects, as well as increase people to people ties,” Mr. Brown said.
Mr. Brown shared the importance of people in any bilateral relationship and why the U.S. values the Samoan people.
Our commitment to the Pacific region is just as strong as it ever was, and this will not change. I look forward to working with all of you,” he said.
(Source: Samoa Observer)
SAMOA PM SAYS LETTER TO LUAGALAU PLOTTERS A FAKE
Samoan Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, is concerned that a war of words between himself and social media bloggers may turn ugly.
A letter supposedly written to two former Samoan cabinet ministers convicted of the murder of their colleague, Luagalau Levaula Kamu, and allegedly signed by Tuilaepa, has been labelled a fake in a media release by the prime minister.
He said it was a threat to public security because when "one's reputation is slandered and defamed without just cause or proof, it will also impact the pride and integrity of families and relatives which may provoke anything to happen".
Tuila'epa was quoted as saying that he had "been told that the 20-year-old letter was penned by a prisoner and it was proven at the time to be a fake."
The prime minister says this is the first time he has seen the letter and it is a forgery.
In 2000 Leafa Vitale and Toi Aukuso were jailed for plotting the murder of cabinet colleague Luagalau the previous year.
Toi died while serving his sentence.
SAMOA MAN GETS LIFE JAIL SENTENCE FOR MURDER
Faranisisi Mikaele, a 29-year-old from Malie, has been sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of murder.
The defendant appeared before the Court on charges of unlawful act namely assault, which caused the death of Toetu Tone, a 28-year-old male of Sinamoga.
The prosecution’s alternative charge filed was manslaughter.
This follows an Assessors Trial held last week before Supreme Court Justice, Leiataualesa Darryl Clarke.
Prosecuting the case was Lucy Maria Sio, while Tufuga Fagaloa represented the defendant in this matter.
The incident occurred back in January 2016, where Toetu was found dead not far from his family home.
(Source: Samoa Observer)