e) The Prime Minister
Many from outside of Samoa want to know about the Samoan Prime Minister Tuila’epa and how corrupt he is or if indeed he is. Post-tsunami reporting by New Zealand TV Journalist John Campbell questioned the missing millions of donations and this raised the awareness of the topic in New Zealand particularly.
Many believe that substantial money was misappropriated. Regardless of the facts for or against misappropriation, Tuila’epa’s handling of the whole matter was a total PR disaster for Samoa. Tuila’epa’s unusual responses to the threat by a high profile overseas reporter, while logical and natural in his Samoan political scene, simply fuelled the fires of doubt offshore and it is now widely believed that the PM is ‘as crooked as the rest’.
The Samoan Prime Minister is not widely liked in Samoa – respected by many yes, and while in the main most have little understanding of the costs of his ‘progress’, begrudging support for the many supposedly good things that he has done on his stint are easily acknowledged.
There is however a widespread mistrust of his party (HRPP) and the politicians that he leads. This mistrust is not without justification for there has been a constant stream of corruption allegations, inquiries and cover-ups in the five years that I have been observing Samoa.
I’ve heard many accuse him directly of corruption by saying things like, “A fish rots from the head”.
Admittedly it is hard to see how so much corruption can occur for so many years if the leader himself is ‘straight’. One would think that if he was serious about stamping indiscretions out then incidences of corruption would have dried up – but that hasn’t been the case at all.
His role as PM seems in a large part to be to protect his people (his political cronies) from the trouble that they get themselves into. This he does very effectively with a plethora of political techniques – delays, obfuscation, distraction, aggression or threats, personalisation, political musical chairs and so on. He is after all a politician and the one at the top of the game. In this regard he is highly astute and experienced.
I cannot state whether or not the PM has Swiss bank accounts and takes big bribes and ‘sweetners’ or not. I simply do not know. I suspect probably yes, he would if there was opportunity, for while he is ultra cautious to play things straight in the publicly visible arena there are many opportunities that a leader has out of the public eye. He would be a major exception to political rulers across the globe if he didn’t, but again I simply don’t know.
We are unlikely to ever know either, for Tuila’epa is certainly not known for being an open politician and one to enjoy full disclosure! Those who are or have been on the inside simply won’t talk about the subject. Their eyes glass over and become suddenly vague, so this indicates to me something is likely amiss.
But there are areas in which softer forms of corruption are perfectly visible in the conduct of the Prime Minister.
The national debt at a billion tala in 2015 . . . has ballooned out of all proportion to Samoa’s capacity to repay. This situation is chronic and to my mind borders on criminal – and that this the debt on the books, ignoring off-balance liabilities, guarantees and other debt hidden within State Owned Enterprises and Public/Private partnerships is a scary thought.
Tuila’epa brushes off criticism of the burgeoning debt justifying it by stating that it is Samoa’s capacity to service the debt that matters, not the extent of the debt. This is just political doubletalk that is simply evil. What Tuila’epa fails to acknowledge is that the huge debt exists and that it will be his children and grandchildren who will be saddled with the debts that he has incurred. Only a politician could present black as white so skilfully!
This approach of taking the focus away from the actual debt and onto the current capacity to service it is akin to parents deliberately injecting their children with the Aids virus and justifying it because as parents they are not getting sick and the kids are still alive!
Interest-bearing debt too is totally prohibited in scripture1, a point conveniently missed and probably deliberately glossed over by a man who claims deceptively, like many leaders here, that Samoa is founded upon God2
Furthermore on this matter, serviceability is not a constant and while current foreign reserves may be able to carry the debt servicing for a few months in the current trading situation, one extended depression or recession will change this and plunge Samoa into incomprehensible servitude.
Most economic commentators recognise that the current economic cycle is about to end. Some predict serious doom & gloom. Most talk of dire straits and countries with high debt levels will be the most vulnerable. Samoa is right up there with some of the least resilient income streams of all indebted nations.
In 2015, most major governments are insolvent; central banks are borderline insolvent; pension funds are nearly insolvent; financial markets are in massive bubbles; banking systems across the board are highly illiquid and in some cases charging their customers negative interest rates. Expecting the status quo to continue is insanity. There will be blood on the floor. Tuila’epa may ride the few detractors hard at present, but posterity will judge him, for sure and I believe harshly too.
In terms of debt, it is my assessment that Samoa went past the point of no return in the years around 1999/2000 and that the escalating debts incurred since are directly related to the PM’s total ungodly focus on money. Tuila’epa will do anything to get money for Samoa – blind compliance with the Climate Change agenda is a perfect example; Chinese debt for construction is another and it seems like anyone who has anything to give or loan or lend or bribe Samoa with, Tuila’epa will gladly take from.
Thank you also to New Zealand and Australia, Samoa’s “Development Partners”.
There is more than one aspect to politically incurred debt – the amount of the debt is one concern. Another is the repayment arrangements a.k.a. serviceability but the real kicker of Corruption are the hidden ‘Conditionalities’ – the conditions that are part and parcel of all international dealings.
These are ALWAYS hidden from view but they always exist – always. Money on offer for Climate Change projects requires compliance with international agreements that wrest national sovereignty and place independent countries rights into centralised decision-making hands (UN etc). Do not be fooled, the Climate Change mantra is a long-term centrally planned tool for the centralisation of power. Changes in land ownership rules is another United Nations driven phenomenon across the globe. Samoa is simply one of many required to tweak their land laws to facilitate increased globalisation.
Those interested should be researching Agenda 21 and the political drivers behind globalism.
While not obvious to most in Samoa at present, Tuila’epa’s blind obedience to the New World Order programme is a massive corruption of the trust that his people have extended him and I believe represents true Corruption by way of abuse of power at its worst.
Agreements for funding from Aid donors require assistance at political levels, hence Tuila’epa’s outspoken criticism of Fiji’s Bainamarama when it suited New Zealand and Australia, Samoa’s primary aid givers.
Check into all social changes to the natural Samoan way and you will find a link back to international agreements. Increasing the women in Parliament is one easily identified – abhorrent to the mainly masculine leadership of Samoa it has become seen as desirable quite recently – it also happens to be a global phenomenon and a requirement for participation in the international money-go-round – funny that!
This is all politics to some extent and no country or politician is exempt from these pressures and challenges but Tuila’epa is right in the thick of all United Nations activities, globalisation activities, Climate Change and the international aid processes. In doing so he must deceive Samoa though for he would be lynched out of town if the truth were really known why and how many of the matters of his ‘progress’ were really enacted!
The only conditionality in which I see his resistance to is homosexual marriage. The rest though, he has bought hook line and sinker.
Some decisions are just inexplicable. Around 1999, for example Samoa sold off it’s Internet Domain Name space (.ws). I understand that Tuila’epa signed off on the transaction, and I consider it one of the most foolish things he has ever done, outside of some personal relationship stuff. Not mentioned ever in the many years since, the people who benefited from this sale are ultimately individuals, the owners of CSL, and untold tens of millions in lost income to the country – all at Samoa’s expense. That a Prime Minister would authorise the sell off of a national treasure for total peanuts (and be one of the only countries in the world so stupid enough to do this) begs the question, why? Why on earth would such a decision be made if there wasn’t something in it for him and his cronies at the time?
The deal over the sale of a national asset (the .ws domain name space) for peanuts to a private commercial enterprise that now resides in private hands is not only insanity, it is Corruption at its worst, perfectly visible for the entire world to see. Investigators should be asking these questions:
The answers will embarrass the PM and another certain high-profile Samoan businesswoman.
Tuila’epa is highly defensive and rejects all criticism outright. His attitude and approach to leadership is a perversion of biblical teaching, best summarised by the phrase, “God put me here. I know best!” He may think this but I certainly don’t believe that he does!
I have not personally observed blatant corruption in the ‘big man’s’ conduct, but I have seen multiple instances where decisions have been made for short-term and political benefit and I believe against Samoa’s best interests, which in my book is a form of abuse of power.
Is he a formidable and capable leader? Yes.
Is he squeeky clean? No way.
Corruption in Samoa - The BookBanning The Blogger
The Human Cost
Corruption in Samoa - Tuila'epa
Chapter 1. Contents
Chapter 2. Preface
Chapter 3. Introduction
Chapter 4. Prologue
Chapter 5. On the Nature of Corruption
Chapter 6. Political - Central Government
a) Samoa Tourism Authority
b) Samoa Land Corporation
c) Samoan Police
d) Ombudsman of Samoa
e) The Prime Minister
Chapter 7. Political - Local Government (Matai System)
Chapter 8. Religion
Chapter 9. NGOs
Chapter 10. Fourth Estate - Samoa Observer
Chapter 11. Individuals
Chapter 12. Exposing Samoan Corruption
Chapter 13. The Solution
Chapter 14. The Prime Minister Responds
Chapter 15. The Author
- Samoan Defamation & Corruption
- Blogger Banned from Samoa – Analysis
- The Human Cost of Samoan Pride
- Letters to Tuila’epa – Palemia.com
- Hating on Samoa
- Corruption in Samoa – What To Do
- Corruption in Samoa – PM’s Mistress
- Tuila’epa’s Assassination Complicity
- Corruption in Samoa – Investment Impact
ALL Samoa Files (back to 2009!):