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Questions over when Samoa’s Police Commissioner will return to work

Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi [SN file photo]

Apia, SAMOA — It’s unclear when the suspended Police Commissioner, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil will return to his post, as the cabinet has yet to receive any official notice from the court that the criminal charges were dismissed this week. This is according to Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, during his weekly radio program on SamoaFM.

The 256 criminal charges against the Commissioner were withdrawn in the Supreme Court, on Monday by Supreme Court Justice Mata Tuatagaloa following recommendations by Independent Prosecutor (IP) New Zealand based attorney, Kenneth Nigel Hampton, QC that the matter had not been properly investigated and that interviews of potential witnesses of an acceptable certain standard were not done and that legal advice was not sought prior to arresting the suspended Commissioner.

During his radio program, Tuilaepa stated that police officials and police officers are not following orders from their “boss”. “Within every government ministry, the staff follows orders from their boss, because if they are against their boss, who is appointed by the cabinet, it means that they are against the Cabinet and the government of Samoa. It’s ironic that it’s happening within the ministry of police, who are supposed to be following orders.” He said the police are forgetting their main responsibility is to serve the public — rather the officials are building their own empire in the ministry.

This week Radio New Zealand reported a leaked “cabinet decision” document indicating that there will be no more assistant commissioners and the position for deputy commissioner will be reinstated. Currently there are four assistant police commissioners who oversee the different agencies within the Ministry of Police. According to RNZI the move will be effective once the current Assistant Commissioners' three-year contracts are complete. As Samoa News first reported back in December 2016, Tuilaepa hinted this would happen, he pointed out that with the four Assistant Police Commissioners each of the AC is assigned to different Departments in the Ministry and they may go back to the way it was in the past where there was only one AC who served as Acting when the Commissioner was away.

The prime Minister noted that when there are too many cooks it would spoil one soup with so many ingredients put in because there are too many chefs and only one soup. He admitted that this may be the reason for all the predicaments occurring out of the Police Ministry. The Prime Minister said that having four Assistant Commissioner may be the reason for all of the problems at the Police and that cabinet has considered going back to having only one AC.