Senate once again has 18 members with Lealataua

Traditional leader Faletagoa’i I. Tuiolemotu of Poloa village has once again been sworn in as the senator for Lealataua county for the next four years. Faletagoa’i had vacated the county seat last week Wednesday after the High Court declared that the senatorial seat is still vacant and the matter was referred back to the Lealataua County traditional council, who met last Thursday evening and decided on Faletagoa’i. Prior to again taking the oath of office, the Senate convened a special meeting yesterday morning where Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie gave a brief statement about the senatorial seat that was vacated by Faletagoa’i following a court ruling. Since then, his office has received new documents and certification from the county that Faletagoa’i was selected again, said Gaoteote, who added that in accordance with Senate rules, the nominee will go through a review by a Senate Special Committee, to be chaired by Sen. Nua Saoluaga, and whose other members are Sens. Magalei Logovi’i and Leatualevao S. Asifoa. The special committee convened at one of the Fono offices briefly and returned to the Senate chamber where Nua announced they had reviewed the documents and certification of the selection of Faletagoa’i by the county chiefs as transmitted by the Samoan Affairs Office. Nua, who is also chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said the special panel recommends full endorsement by the Senate members, who unanimously gave their approval. This was followed by Faletagoa'i's swearing in, presided over by Chief Associate Judge Logoa’i Siaki. Once the brief ceremony was completed, Faletagoa’i took his seat as the Senate session got underway and Gaoteote announced that the Senate now has a full membership of 18 senators. Faletagoa’i maintains his previous committee chairmanship post with the Senate Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.

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