Pacific News Minute: More than 250 Charges Against Police Commissioner of Samoa Dismissed

Feb 22, 2017

Samoa Police Brass Band in Apia, Samoa
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Last December, we reported that the police commissioner of Samoa had been thrown into a jail cell after he was arrested on more than 250 criminal charges, including incitement to murder. On Monday, he declared, “Justice has prevailed” after the entire case was dismissed…we have an update from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.


Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil celebrated outside the Supreme Court in Apia after a private prosecutor hired by the Attorney General’s office moved to dismiss all charges. Kenneth Nigel Hampton, a former Chief Justice of Tonga, found a series of flaws. The allegations had not been properly investigated, witnesses had not been interviewed to acceptable standards.


“The Public Interest was not met and never was,” he wrote, “and to proceed with the charges will be manifestly not in the public interest.”


This is the second time that the police commissioner has been arrested on a raft of charges, and the second time they’ve been thrown out of court.


Fuiavaili’ili was a controversial choice when he was hired two years ago. Though born in Samoa, he was educated in California and had a long career with the Los Angeles Police Department. From the start a series of so-called ghost letters circulated criticizing his selection, culminating in a petition of no confidence last fall, signed by 40 of Samoa’s 500 police officers. Both officers and some chiefs also questioned his knowledge of customs and laws.


In a blog published by the Samoa Observer, Marj Moore called the case a ridiculous waste of time and money. ”While many of us are vehemently opposed to the U.S. style of policing favored by Fuiavaili’ili,” she wrote, "it was very obvious that in trying to bring about positive changes, he came up against some very entrenched and ineffective systems that had endured in the Police for a very long time.”