Samoa’s PM Fiame sacks AG over ‘lack of public trust’

Samoan Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mata'afa
Samoan Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mata'afa chairing her first FAST party cabinet meeting. Image: RNZ/Eyespy Radio (Samoa) 87.5

RNZ Pacific

Samoa’s Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, has sacked the Attorney-General, Savalenoa Mareva Betham Annandale, effective immediately.

The government suspended the Attorney-General and the Clerk of Parliament two weeks ago, saying it did not have trust or confidence them.

The prime minister said she also did not accept Savalenoa’s submission that neither she nor the Head of State have the legal authority to suspend or dismiss the Attorney-General.

Savalenoa suggested that the prime minister could not make such a decision because having been the subject of some of the court cases decided over the last few months, Fiame was subject to bias.

The Attorney-General also requested more time to provide a response to the reasons set out by the prime minister who is the Minister for the AG’s office.

Samoa Attorney-General Savalenoa Mareva Betham-Annandale
Samoa Attorney-General Savalenoa Mareva Betham-Annandale … requested more time to provide a response to the Prime Minister. Image: Samoa Observer

But in a statement, the prime minister said she had not accepted Savalenoa’s submissions.

“I do not accept that an Attorney-General cannot be removed from office. Every person who holds public office in Samoa holds that office on trust from the people of Samoa.”

“For the Attorney-General, as adviser to the executive government, that means having the trust and confidence of the government,” she said.

Fiame has advised the Head of State to appoint senior lawyer Su’a Hellen Wallwork to take the acting AG position for 3 to 6 months while the process of appointing a new Attorney-General is carried out.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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