CIS – Exposing Samoan Corruption

Chapter 12.

I have chosen to expose corruption in Samoa at this time and in this manner for several reasons:

1. The time has come. I have been in Samoa for five years. No rational human being should ever have to undergo the experiences that I have undergone here. A Palagi is a prime target and unless participating in corrupt practices himself as many here do, he simply has no chance of a fair go – none. If exposing the corruption prevents just one person suffering even a fraction of what I have, then I will have achieved something worthy.

2. I have now received proof of the Ombudsman’s whitewash of my formal complaint of Police Corruption. This completes the last step in all formal processes to deal with corruption. I held back publication of my book A little Slice of Paradise – Engaging with post-Tsunami Samoa, for two years pending hopeful resolution of the matter of this Police corruption. Such was not to be and the fact that the highest man in the country entrusted with dealing with corruption in government is himself corrupt is a strong trigger for me to act now. People who have to date observed my challenges and just written them off as the way things are here; or a result of my direct and [in Samoa offensive] style; or seen as just a minor matter can now see the extent of the racism, self-interest and more, should they so choose to inform themselves.

3. Samoa claims to be founded upon God, the Christian God, yet the evidence of this a reality is lacking outside of external ‘religious practices’. The Bible exhorts us to find the truth and to publish it but this runs contrary to Samoan culture that is ultra-sensitive to causing offence. I fear the Lord more than I do Samoan culture. The scripture I refer to in this regard is in Ephesians 5:11: Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

I am an individual author and investigative blogger. As an individual I have enormous freedom to speak freely. I have no human superior to whom I report.

My work though is tempered by the limitations that one individual must have – I don’t know everyone or everything. This makes it difficult to assess complex situations and to pass judgement.

My neighbour and Minister of the Crown Tuisuga is a case in point. I have been told by more than one source that his account at Samoa Land Corporation is grossly in arrears. One person even told me that he has never paid ANYTHING, ever! I suspect very much that he is not the only senior government official who is in this situation.

If I name him as an abuser of the system and not the others, I do this only because he is the one whom I know has, as he put it himself to me, “resourcing issues” and has received special treatment from SLC for many years. This may be unfair if the others get away free of exposure, but it is not my current intent to name and shame all corrupt officials in Samoa! I can however speak about what I do know of.

I have no interest in hurting people per se, however speaking the truth about people who are corrupt, greedy; pretenders and/or liars will of course cause them discomfort and raise their ire.

To them I say, “Too bad! Get over it. You brought it on yourself. Sue me or state your case and I’ll correct any errors of fact.”

There are other reasons for the website and the future whistleblower functions. The Internet is a powerful medium internationally. I have spent considerable time and effort attempting to explain this to the Prime Minister and his responses demonstrate utter foolishness, with a head-in-the-sand attitude that will come back to bite him when he ignores the medium.

When people, one after the other come forward and state their case online showing his government up for what it truly is, it is just possible that he will learn the importance of engaging with people where they are at – online.

To some, the name of Tuila’epa is synonymous with corruption. His primary concern is local politics where he has the power. Ignoring the power of the Internet is insanity. The Luddites’ days are now well and truly over, and that applies even in Samoa!

The principle of what I call “The Power of One” is best described in Andersen’s story Tale by Hans Christian Andersen, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. This tale where one small boy simply stated the obvious and the entire society was transformed and the fools exposed.

I too am only one man, with one story, one website but the potential is that many will learn the truth about a proud nation in denial and clearly totally unwilling and probably incapable of solving its own problems of corruption.

The personal costs for speaking the truth in Samoa and taking Corruption on in Samoa are huge. I am widely hated (or at least not trusted) in government and business circles thanks largely to the efforts of one person who has spearheaded a campaign of gossip from the day of my arrival.

I live with those around me having an attitude of begrudging tolerance when necessary but backstabbing and gossip the norm. Living in a comparatively violent country I also have to determine daily whether or not I am prepared to pay the ultimate price for speaking and acting as I do. I am.

As I have shown in this book, one needs to be prepared for anything. When a simple thing such as chasing thieves out of a plantation can turn fatal in an instant or a confrontation with a person of stature in public can result in serious immigration ramifications, and major financial losses and hospitalisation can occur in a slit-second decision by an angry Samoan, it makes for sobering thought.

It is little wonder that Samoans cower in fear of those above them and many struggle to cope, let alone be proactive to deal with it.

I once stood up to the wife of a powerful man whose staff had stolen from me. I heard later that the Prime Minister had been approached by this man to have my immigration status “reviewed”. Should this or worse occur following publication of this book and website, my words will certainly have increased exposure and validity!

Such is the nature of speaking the truth fearlessly.

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