Immigration incident leads to removal of Associate Minister


Attorney General Fainuulelei Alalilima Utu has shed light on an immigration incident in the territory involving Samoa’s Associate Minister of Police from Samoa, earlier this month, which has led to the associate minister’s removal from his position.

The AG said, on November 3, Member of Parliament and Associate Minister of Police Fepuleai Fa’asavalu Faimata Su’a, traveled to American Samoa on Samoa Airways arriving here at about 8am.

Fepuleai did not have a thirty-day entry permit and he did not obtain a 7-day waiver for an entry permit, or OK Board, prior to his arrival in American Samoa.

The AG said, according to the supervisor for the Airport Immigration Division, Fepuleai claimed he travelled to American Samoa for a Samoa police-related matter and thought his diplomatic passport was sufficient for entry.

Alailima Utu stated that, in accordance with American Samoa law, Fepulea’i was detained by the Airport Immigration Division while authorization to enter American Samoa was applied for by his host/sponsor the same morning, shortly after his arrival.

While the incident happened almost three weeks ago, it only made the news this past weekend after Fepuleai was stripped of his position on orders of Prime Minsiter Fiame Naomi Mataafa. The firing took place Friday before the PM left the county for official meetings off island.

Police Commissioner, Auapa’au Logoitino Filipo confirmed to the Samoa Observer a government vehicle assigned to the sacked Associate Minister has been seized and returned to the Ministry of Police and Prisons.

He did not want to comment further, as he had just returned from Australia on Saturday with the Minister of Police, Faualo Harry Schuster.

Fepuleai remains a Member of Parliament.

There’s been no official comment from the FAST government on the removal of the associate minister.