APIA: MONDAY 20 MAY 2013: The Associate Minister of Finance, Peseta Vaifou Tevaga says he resigned ahead of the announcement by the Prime Minister that he and fellow Associate Minister Tiavalea Seinafo were terminated.
Peseta told Talamua that he tendered his resignation with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance ahead of last Thursday’s caucus meeting where some members of caucus wanted then Finance Minister to step down.
Peseta said he tendered his resignation as he couldn’t put up with the criticisms which also reflected on him as the Associate Minister of Finance.
During Caucus, the PM announced that both Associate Ministers of Finance were no longer. Peseta is reported to have retorted “Is this how it’s going to be that when Ministers come under fire from public criticism the Associate Ministers suffer?”
The second Associate Minister, Tialavea Seinafo is overseas and was absent from the caucus meeting where Finance Minister Faumuina Tiatua Liuga narrowly survived the challenge for him to step down.
Insiders report that despite the major issues raised in the MPs written petition, the PM only touched on the Finance Ministers $600,000 spending to refurbish his office at the SNPF Plaza and the Lexus car, which the PM said must be returned. Sources say the Lexus is one of several government vehicles the Minister was having for his personal use.
MPs queried the Minister’s lavish spending and that he seemed to be protected by the Prime Minister.
Faumuina lost three previous attempts to be the Deputy Prime Minister and shows dissention within the party ranks and senior Cabinet ministers.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa told the party after the last general election that this was his last term as PM and the MPs are holding on to his word. His choice of a transitional leader is already under heavy fire from his own party.