Samoan Land Case raises key Justice Issues
In an important petition campaign highlighting significant issues for the Samoan justice system, Clara Gray and her siblings want closure for her mother Maria Kolotita Kirita Pune in a case which is over a decade old.
The case, dating back to 2003, seeks the return of family lands, Tuloto and Lotopa, Apia Samoa.
In the petition at GoPetition, Clara Gray raises the following important issues:
"In March 2014, Maria’s freehold family land in Tuloto, situated in Apia’s commercial town area was sold illegally to Samoa Stationery And Books Limited (SSAB) in a mortgagee sale by Samoa Breweries Limited. Caveats that had been placed over the Tuloto land in 2002 were illegally removed by the Ministry of National Resource Environment (MNRE), a government registry office for lands and title, to allow for the sale. This was also despite a Court Order to have caveats remain as the Court had yet to deliver a decision in Maria’s case heard in 2003 regarding freehold lands.
Following Tuloto land sale, Maria’s historic family home that was on the land was bulldozed and demolished. Her parent’s graves that were also on the land was forcibly removed and transferred disrespectfully to an unmarked grave in a public cemetery.
In September 2014, prominent lawyers in opposition are demanding Maria pays ST$163,000.00 for "security" costs to Samoa’s Legal System.
In October 2014, Chief Justice Sapolu prolongs his decision with further delay tactics and pressure's Maria into mediation with the children of her late brother - (former Minister of Justice of Samoa) to salvage family relationships. "Mediation now is pointless", says Maria. What’s more important now, is that there are bigger issues of law that the Supreme Court must address;
- Case Pending a decision from 2003
- Decision still outstanding and well overdue
- Unlawful removal of caveats
- Unlawful disobeying of a court order to have caveats remain
- Unlawful bulldozing and demolishing of a historic family home
- Unlawful removal of graves to public cemetery
This petition is written in the hope that:
1) Justice for Maria Kolotita Kirita Pune is served;
2) Samoan people become more aware of what is happening in Samoa regarding
land matters. If you have lands in Samoa, check registration of land titles
regularly at MNRE offices. Lands may be transferred illegally, unknowingly from
you and your family."
The petition calls for support for Maria Kolotita Kirita Pune and her cause for justice.
The petition can be signed here.
Photo acknowledgement: SamoaObserver: FAMILY: Maria K. Kirita Pune, Puleiti Clara Gray, Elsa Vaeluaga and Puleiti Luse Vaeluaga inside the Supreme Court where the dispute over a transfer of family land was heard. (inset) CHIEF JUSTICE: Patu Tiava'asu'e F. Sapolu.