Moves to remove Finance Minister not new – PM

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi

Alan Ah Mu & Staff Reporters

APIA: WEDNESDAY 19 FEBRUARY 2014: Faumuina Tiatia Liuga will remain as Minister of Finance.

This is despite a Parliamentary Committee report into the Chief Auditors Report has detailed widespread mismanagement and abuse of power in the administration of the Samoa Land Corporation and went as far as recommending legal action against those involved.

The Finance Minister, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, was the Minister in charge of the Corporation in the previous HRPP government reported by the Chief Auditor.

Despite dissatisfaction in caucus and reports of moves to remove the Minister, the Prime Minister yesterday removed any doubt of his support for the Finance Minister.

Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi made light of moves within Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) to organise the removal of Faumuina.

“It’s not new,” Tuilaepa said yesterday.

It was attempted in a caucus vote in May last year when a letter to the PM raised the very issues now detailed and publicized in the Parliamentary Committee’s report.

“Only three caucus members voted to fire Faumuina as Minister of Finance then,” Tuilaepa told the media yesterday.

Opponents within HRPP said of the 19 caucus members who voted last May, three wanted Faumuina sacked from Cabinet outright, seven wanted him kept there but stripped off the Finance portfolio and nine voted to retain him as Finance Minister.

“So 10 of the 19 caucus members wanted Finance removed from Faumuina’s hands,” they said.

But Tuilaepa has stuck to his “only-three against” argument – which he repeated yesterday.

Yesterday the Prime Minister said the chairman of the parliamentary committee had pointed out that most of the problems found have been put right.

“If things have been put right what else is there to be done?” Tuilaepa said.

He said there were no problems within HRPP.

Last week they had a party and all attended.

“Except those two who are still angry.”

“Those two MPs, (who he didn’t name) were unlike me, in that they don’t forgive,” Tuilaepa said.

In the closing session of parliament three weeks ago, he spoke extensively in the House about forgiveness and that all human beings make mistakes. It is not certain whether he was implying to apply the same forgiveness to the Finance Minister and the publicized corrupt practices and mismanagement, and whether there were other past and similar cases that had not been made public.

MPs on both sides of the House do not understand why Tuilaepa continues to protect Faumuina despite instances of mismanagement and allegations of corruption as in the Parliamentary Committees Report.

The Report was tabled in the last session and is supposed to be debated when the House resumes 18 March.

HRPP holds 37 of the 49 seats in Parliament.