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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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PM Urges Village To Take Samoa Government To Court
Tuilaepa says Magiagi ‘confusing’ issues with power company

By Niccola Hazelman-Siona

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Feb. 24, 2013) – The ongoing debate between Samoa’s government and Magiagai village has taken another turn, this time with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi urging the village to take the government to court.

Tuilaepa was asked for a comment on recent claims, made by the Chairman of the Magiagi Village Committee, Ugaena Anisi, that government had yet to deliver on its promise to give the village 100 acres of land.

Ugaena said the land was to compensate for Magiagai land that had been taken by the government for its hydro power project.

In response, Tuilaepa said: "No one knows about that hundred acre of land promise. Who promised it? I am sure that if they go and follow up with the ex Prime Minister he would not remember any such promise being made."

Tuilaepa believes that Magiagi is confused about the issue in which they are arguing over and that the Electric Power Corporation (EPC) has nothing to do with the conflict.

"Let me say this, you cannot bring one element to confuse another, these are two separate issues."

"There are processes whereby they can go and pursue their hundred acres but as far as EPC is concerned if you don’t have cash power you don’t have light."

"That’s pure and simple," he said "that’s the EPC rule and EPC is an independent body and empowered to make its own decisions."

Tuilaepa also said that if the village of Magiagi has solid evidence that the government made a promise for 100 acres of land it should then take the matter to court.

"The issue of land is not EPC, it’s the government so if they have evidence that the government did promise, no one should stop them they should take it to the court and argue in the court with concrete evidence."

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