APIA, SAMOA – 28 JUNE 2020: “Bad politics need to be cleaned up in order for the Samoan people to live freely and in peace and harmony.” This is the bold statement from former Speaker, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polata’ivao following his victory in court with over 100 criminal charges dismissed against him in the Supreme Court last Friday.
Speaking on ETV Live yesterday morning, the MP who is on his third term in Parliament said Samoa gave the government the confidence, “but you don’t know the bad politics swirling inside there that needs to be cleaned up.”
He spoke expressively about the last six years where “my wife and children were dragged in and I’m not sure if any other Samoan had gone through what I went through.”
La’auli resigned his position as a Cabinet Minister in 2018. Then he went over to the police station with his wife and three other business associates to be charged over long-drawn differences with the Associate to the Prime Minister over a nonu company.
“I decided to resign from my ministerial post as I wanted to keep the integrity of the position, while I stand down to seek justice and the truth,” he told ET Live.
He faced over 100 charges that included theft and forgery and the negative impact on his political career and him personally, were huge.
After the courts decision was delivered last Friday, “The first thing my wife said to me was Praise the Lord. Now we’re free of the negative publicity and what goes on social media,” he said.
La’auli claimed the court case was part of bad politics of a group of people within his own political party who wanted to destroy his political career.
No longer safe in my own political party
He told ETV Live that there will come a time when he will publicly reveal all and who were behind the move and he claimed an abuse of power and positions to get at him.
La’auli’s political involvement goes back and his father and two uncles were MPs and Cabinet Ministers. His family and constituency were founding members of the ruling Human Rights Protection Party and an influence in the party’s success and power from the late 1970s to now.
After resigning from Cabinet in 2018 and facing a court case, he stayed away from the party until he spoke and voted against a constitutional amendment in 2019, that he saw had major repercussions on free and fair elections especially for voters in Savaii where his constituency Gagaifomauga 3 is located.
The party leader and Prime Minster Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi announced the day after, that La’auli’s resignation from the party had been accepted, although La’auli never resigned. Then started the many heated exchanges and ‘chase’ between the PM and La’auli that touched on the court case while a decision was still pending.
Such an exchange again flared up in Parliament last Friday morning when La’auli told the PM, that the court was delivering its decision on the court case that very afternoon.
But with such reactions from the party leader, La’auli said he was uncomfortable to go back there knowing there were moves against him.
“I walked away from the party….. despite it had our dreams for the country because I felt I was no longer safe in there,” he said.
He claimed that there was a lot of pretence and people creating differences and tension between MPs.
“Now the court decision has been delivered, I want Samoa to be clean of this bad politics and for our people to live in peace and harmony.”
While the taxpayers paid for two overseas lawyers the Government engaged to prosecute the case, La’auli paid for his own lawyers “as money can’t buy ones good reputation.”
For his own future, La’auli has already left HRPP and is now an Independent in Parliament. His instructions from his constituency are to form a new political party.
“But we need to lift this canoe together with the whole of Samoa,” he said. “And this will be announced at the appropriate time,” he said.