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Some senators displeased about ‘the lying’ during Kite Runner hearing

Port Administration employee Faiai Loleni Faiai

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Contradicting information in testimonies of individuals involved in the infamous Kite Runner saga and the fact that someone is lying despite being sworn-in on the Bible before the hearing, has tested the patience of some senators.

This follows statements made by Faiai Loleni Faiai, the captain of the Kite Runner on its round trip to neighboring Samoa in an earlier hearing of the Senate Select Investigative Committee (SSIC), where he testified that when he went home on their return to the Territory, he had left the boat log he had used on their trip, on the boat.

However, according to Kite Runner owner Papalii Laulii Alofa and Tish Peau (a government employee who works part-time for Paramount), the boat which is a recreational vessel has no log book and none has ever existed.

After the SSIC hearing, an irate Senator Satele Aliitai Lili’o voiced his displeasure saying that these of people should not be allowed inside the Senate chambers.

He said that he feels sorry for committee members because a lot of time and energy has been spent on investigations and preparations for these hearings, but these witnesses come here and “lie straight to our faces without any sign of remorse.”

Satele suggested that they should draft a legislation to put an end to government employees who are blatantly moonlighting without a care in the world.

He pointed out that the circumstances of the Kite Runner case is exactly the same as other cases where other government employees have been implicated for doing part-time jobs for other employers.

Moreover, they have learned in the course of their committee hearings that government employees, namely surveyors, directors and boat captains were using government property and equipment to carry out their side jobs.

He referred to the Nu’ufou lands survey case saying that he heard the government surveyor who carried out the job has not been paid his $16,000 bill yet.

Senator Tuiasina Salamo Laumoli agreed wholeheartedly with Senator Satele’s stance in the matter saying the people subpoenaed to testify are not taking it seriously, and it looks like they conspired together before appearing at the hearings with rehearsed answers ready for senators’ questions.

They know the truth but they are not telling us and if that’s the case, this fiasco is pointless.

He said it was all such a waste of time and energy while witnesses are lying and always alert  and ready to intervene if they see that committee members are making progress in their probing questions.

Tuiasina said he noticed one instance where crucial information was on the verge of being revealed by one witness who was being questioned, when suddenly another witness jumped in and steered the line of questioning away from the topic under discussion.

The Kite Runner case is a good example, it involves one boat, one scenario, one family but the witnesses’ answers contradict each other.

SSIC Chairman Togiola Tulafono trying to maintain a calm composure urged committee members not to lose sight of their purpose, which they were duty-bound to uphold — that is to question and search for what is just and right.

He said whether witnesses are lying or not, they should not give up but continue their quest for the truth.

Senate President Tuaolo Manaia Fruean sought Togiola’s legal opinion on whether the SSIC can file perjury charges against any they can prove is lying in the hearings. He said he had seen people charged for perjury during his tenure as a Samoan Judge.

Togiola replied that it was within their power to do just that.

Tuaolo then urged members not to give up easily but to keep on striving for the truth so that justice can be served.