Commissioner testifies that a police Inspector tampered evidence


Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil

BY Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA –MONDAY 26 JUNE 2017:  Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil has testified before the Commission of Inquiry, that former police Inspector Luatimu Samau not only interfered but tampered evidence in the investigation of former National Prosecutor Mauga Precious Chang.

The Commission of Inquiry is investigating charges against Samau and suspended Assistant police Commissioner Samoa Mulinu’u regarding the traffic incident that resulted in charges against former National Prosecutor Mauga Precious Chang.

Both accused are alleged to have committed the offences of tampering with evidence and Samau was also charged with conducting an investigation without authority.

According to Fuiavailili, the Officer in Charge (OIC) of the Traffic Unit is Superintendent Tuaena Lomano who was “adamant that Samau should not be involved in the investigation.”

Fuiavailili said there was no point bringing in someone from Afega out post when there are capable police investigators handling the case in Apia, but somehow Samau, who was the Commissioned Officer of the Afega police outpost at the time, was also investigating.

In cross examination, Samau asked Fuiavailili to explain why Fuiavailili was not happy with him and reasons for his transfer to Savai’i and later Afega outpost, but Fuiavailili said “only you (Samau) can answer that.”

Samau then said that his reaction was because Fuiavailili was not happy when he asked Fuiavailili why Assistant Commissioner Afamasaga Michael Soonalole has not been charged.

Fuiavailili responded “because of your demeaning behaviour towards me in front of the Minister and police staff at the Afega outpost,”

The Commissioner said Samau disrespected, yelled and pointed his finger at him “belittling me, and violated all rules in the book.”

Fuiavailili told the Commission that he could have easily suspended Samau then, but out of respect for the Minister who was mitigating, he did not.

He said the Minister called in Tuaena in his office the day after the Afega incident to clarify if any authority was given to Samau to conduct any investigation, and if Samau tried to sway the investigation. Both Fuiavailili and Samau were present.

At that meeting, Fuiavailili said Tuaena made it clear that Samau should not interfere with the investigation, and Samau cried and apologized for his behaviour.

Samau was quick to point out, that his tears were not because of his behaviour, but because he wanted both the taxi and bus driver involved in the traffic incident to be charged too as there was evidence.

Fuiavailili said Samau’s interference with the investigation “was out of protocol and that it was unbecoming for a Commissioned Officer to disregard all rules.”

The Commission of Inquiry is led by retired Judge Lesatele Rapi Vaai, former police inspector Tavu’i Annie Laumea and Namulaulu Sami Leota.

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