Former minister ordered to surrender travel documents

Former Samoa Minister of Agriculture, La’aulialemalietoa Leauatea Schmidt, will reappear in the District Court in October with his four co-defendants, including his wife Heather Schmidt to answer criminal charges against them.

They have all be charged separately after police investigations into a business arrangement which has been in court after allegations by a former partner and senior Member of Parliament, Peseta Vaifou Tevaga.

Judge Ameperosa Roma ordered all defendants to surrender their travel documents as part of their bail conditions, when they appeared in court on Monday.

The Samoa Observer newspaper reported that the Attorney General’s Office who are prosecuting the case had asked the court for an adjournment to allow them to finalize their charges.

La’auli had last month relinquished his ministerial post after he was charged and his business partner Apulu Lance Polu also stepped down as President of the Journalists Association of Samoa.

Lawyer Semi Leung Wai is representing all five defendants who are due to reappear next month.