Samoa PM: Probe into assassination plot turns to financial links
Apia, SAMOA — Samoa Police say an alleged conspiracy to assassinate Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, involved money changing hands between plotters.
The revelation comes as they broaden their investigations outside of Samoa.
Police are examining at least one financial transfer from a person or entity based in Australia as part of an investigation into possible financial links between the alleged conspirators.
“Evidence alleges planning of a weapon, transportation and that cash was exchanged between the conspirators,” the Samoa Police Service said in a statement.
The Samoa Observer has learned that at least one recent money transfer from Australia to Samoa has come to the attention of investigators, raising the possibility of foreign nationals being included in the conspiracy investigation.
The Australian Federal Police did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.
"[We will] determine whether overseas nationals or entities were directly involved,” the Police said last week while confirming foreign police services had been contacted.
Police said that the evidence for all charges had been reviewed by the Attorney General’s office.
Police have also warned of “false statements” made by “ill intentioned persons” on social media.
In particular the Police expressly denied that the Prime Minister was related to any members of the alleged conspiracy, or that he was involved in any way beyond serving as an alleged target.
“If ongoing public false statements posted on social media by knowing or ill intended persons encroach on the investigation or hinder the course of justice in any way, then that will be taken seriously,” the Police statement said.
Meanwhile, Police continued to search for at least one weapon which they believe was linked to the alleged plot.