More Top Stories

Crime
Sports
Court

Alleged rapist in remand

27 April 2024

National
Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Men jailed for plot to kill ex-Samoan leader Tuilaepa

Monday 14 August 2023 | Written by RNZ | Published in Regional, Samoa

Share

Men jailed for plot to kill ex-Samoan leader Tuilaepa
An archive photo of Lema'i Faioso Sione (left) and Malele Paulo Photo: RNZ Pacific / Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Two men charged with conspiring to murder former Samoan prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi have been jailed. RNZP reports.

Malele Paulo, also known as King Faipopo, has been jailed for four years, and co-defendant Lemai Faioso Sione will spend four-and-a-half years behind bars.

Both men were found guilty by a panel of assessors in March this year.

Supreme Court Justice Vui Clarence Nelson ordered media not to publish evidence of the case as another co-defendant Talalelei Pauga is yet to be extradited to Samoa from Australia to stand trial.

A fourth co-defendant, Taualai Leiloa, pleaded guilty to the joint charge of conspiracy to murder in December 2020 and is currently serving a five-year prison term.

The court heard that the four men had planned to murder then Samoa PM Tuilaepa at Siusega Catholic Cathedral in August 2019.

He noted Paulo was devoid of character and the only mitigating factor considered in relation to his penalty is caring for his father which led to a two-month reduction in his jail sentence.

Paulo was previously convicted by the District Court and jailed for seven weeks in relation to a criminal libel matter in 2019 when he was sued for defaming Tuilaepa.

Paulo had also asked the court for a different lawyer just on the eve of sentencing but was denied.

The third defendant in the matter, Talalelei Pauga, also known as Ninja, remains in Australia and is yet to stand trial on the same charge.

The fourth defendant, Taualai Leiloa, pleaded guilty to the joint charge of conspiracy to murder in December 2020 and is currently serving a five-year prison term.