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Saulo calls complaint against her frivolous, without merit

Faipule candidate Vui Florence Saulo described a complaint filed this week in the High Court challenging the outcome of the Tualauta local House race as “frivolous and without merit” and a response is being prepared by her lawyer for submission to the court.

Two other Tualauta candidates in the general election, Lucia Bartley and Esther Wall, filed their complaint against respondents — chief election officer Soliai T. Fuimaono and Saulo—  “for provable fraud”.

Unofficial results from the general election had given the two Tualauta seats to incumbent Larry Sanitoa and newcomer Saulo, a local business woman. Sanitoa and Saulo received the top votes for the district.

In a news release late Wednesday afternoon, Saulo called the complaint “frivolous and without merit”, and it’s nothing more than an attempt by two discontented candidates to cast doubt on a time-proven, democratic process.

She says she is saddened with the action taken by the Bartley and Wall and their attorney, Mark Ude.

“They had all the time in the world before the election to challenge whatever irregularities they may have thought with the ballots and even with my qualifications, yet they stood by and said nothing,” she said. The election is over and the people have spoken. They are dissatisfied with the will of the people and so they file this groundless complaint hoping that the courts will somehow put them in office.”

Saulo is further saddened by the fact that of all the people, the ones who have “instigated this maneuver” were the only other female candidates on the Tualauta ballot, according to the news release.

“In this age of progress and equality and women improving themselves in the workplace, one would think that my fellow candidates would be the first to felicitate my recent but humble success in the elections,” said Saulo. “However, Mrs. Bartley and Mrs. Wall apparently would rather drag me through the mud and along with me the Chief Election Officer and the American Samoa voting process.”

Saulo declared that she is proud of her heritage, which is a full-blooded Samoan woman with familial connections to both American Samoa and Samoa.

The complaint alleges in part that Saulo “was at all times pertinent to this action a citizen of the Independent State of Samoa and therefore an ineligible candidate for Tualauta District #15” and Saulo “was determined to be a winner for one of the two” Tualauta seats.

According to the complaint, the petitioners believe that a birth certificate for Saulo was not provided to the Election Office as required by other candidates for the House of Representatives.

“I do not regret the fact that my parents are from... Samoa with ancestral ties to American Samoa. I do not regret the fact that at one point in my life I lived and was educated in Samoa,” said Saulo. “In fact, I am proud to be associated with Western Samoa and I still maintain my family ties there.”

“However, I am also just as proud to be an American Samoan and a national of the United States. This is where I was born, it’s where my husband and children were born. It’s where we live and I would give my life to its service,” she said.

The news release went on to say that Saulo is confident that in time she will be proven right and “reassure the public especially the residents of Tualauta that she is determined to fight these false allegations to the end and will not rest until her good name and that of Tualauta District are restored.”

Saulo’s attorney Marcellus T. Uiagalelei said told Samoa News that his client was only served around 9 a.m. yesterday with the complaint and is now working on putting together a response to be filed with the court.

Samoa News reporter Fili Sagapolutele contributed to this report.