Police Commissioner did the unusual by asking Chief Justice for a warrant of arrest


Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil

BY Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 20 FEBRUARY 2017: One of the unusual actions taken by Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil, was to ask the Chief Justice, Patū Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu, for a warrant of arrest so he could file charges against the suspended Director of the National Prosecutions Office, Mauga Precious Chang.

What was even more unusual was that the Attorney General Lemalu Herman Retzlaff accompanied the Commissioner to see the Chief Justice.

This came up during the public hearings this week of the Tribunal that is investigating the conducts of Mauga and her Deputy Muriel Lui, when defense counsel Aumua Ming Leung Wai pointed out the ‘unusual’ action.

Aumua pointed out that Lemalu and the Commissioner went to see the Chief Justice on two separate occasions.

In giving evidence on Monday, Lemalu said he advised the Commissioner against seeing the Chief Justice, as it is not a practice here in Samoa.

Lemalu admitted that what the Commissioner did was ‘unheard of’ and he told the Commissioner that he was to be present when the Commissioner asked for a warrant.

Lemalu testified he did not go for a warrant, but as an advisor to Government.

Aumua pointed out that Lemalu was contradicting himself as Lemalu said earlier that he was there as a ‘protector of the Judiciary’ and later changed it to “advisor to Government.”

Lemalu said at their first meeting with the Chief Justice, he advised that he was there as an advisor to Government, and that he had already advised the Commissioner about coming to see him.

The normal practice in Samoa according to Aumua, is that an accused is taken in by police for questions regarding an offence, and if there was enough evidence, then charges are filed.

Lemalu agreed that the Commissioner’s action was somehow “Americanized” but he felt ‘duty bound’ to be present when the Commissioner requested for a warrant of arrest.