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Source: Government of Western Samoa

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SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE AGAINST PAUGA, CONFIRMS AG SAVALENOA

By: Nanai Taofiga Laveitiga Tuiletufuga

Attorney General Savalenoa Mareva Betham Annandale in a press statement has confirmed that there is sufficient evidence to support the charge of “conspiracy to commit murder’ against Talalelei Pauga.
However given that the hearing of the other two co-defendants already charged have yet to commence, the statement notes that “the evidence surrounding the case cannot be disclosed at this stage.”

“The Attorney General further confirms that Mr. Pauga is one of the principal defendants and should be tried together in Samoa, with his other two co-defendants Lema’i Faioso Sione and Malele Atofu Paulo, who have already been charged for this matter and are awaiting a hearing date.”

The charges against the three defendants relate to allegations of conspiring to murder Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi.
Pauga is in Australia awaiting the outcome of his extradition court case to Samoa to stand trial.
And to that effect, the statement reiterated that, “The Attorney General is duty bound to pursue the extradition request of Mr. Pauga and institute criminal proceedings in Samoa as there is sufficient evidence to support the alleged offence committed by Mr. Pauga.
“Conspiracy to commit murder’ is a serious offence under section 106 of the Crimes Act 2013, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment,” Savalenoa stated.

“The Attorney General is also mandated to uphold the Constitution of Samoa, which includes the right to a fair trial. At this stage the Attorney General is awaiting the outcome of the extradition proceedings in Australia, “she continued.
The OAG’s statement is a rebuttal to a statement issued by the

Amnesty International labeling the Pauga’s extradition from Australia as “politically motivated.”
The AG’s Statement is published below verbatim.
The Attorney General of Samoa responds to the concerns by Global human rights watch-dog Amnesty International in the Samoa Observer Article dated 2 October 2020.

1. The Attorney General confirms that the Office has made a lawful request to the Australian Attorney Generals Department in February 2020, to extradite Mr. Talalelei Pauga who is alleged to have committed the offence of ‘conspiracy to commit murder’. ‘Conspiracy to commit murder’ is a serious offence under section 106 of the Crimes Act 2013, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
2. The Attorney General also confirms that Australia has honored Samoa’s extradition request in accordance with its obligations under Australia’s Extradition Act 1988 and Extradition (Samoa) Regulations 2010.

3. The Attorney General further confirms that Mr. Pauga is one of the principal defendants and should be tried together in Samoa, with his other two co-defendants Lema’i Faioso Sione and Malele Atofu Paulo, who have already been charged for this matter and are awaiting a hearing date. The Attorney General furthermore confirms that there is sufficient evidence to support the charge against Mr. Pauga. Given that the hearing of the other two co-defendants have yet to commence, the evidence surrounding the case cannot be disclosed at this stage.

4. The Attorney General is duty bound to pursue the extradition request of Mr. Pauga and institute criminal proceedings in Samoa as there is sufficient evidence to support the alleged offence committed by Mr. Pauga. The Attorney General is also mandated to uphold the Constitution of Samoa, which includes the right to a fair trial. At this stage the Attorney General is awaiting the outcome of the extradition proceedings in Australia.

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