Friday, August 13, 1999

Accused Samoan ex-official
also faces attempted-
murder charge

Associated Press


APIA, Samoa -- A former Samoan government minister accused of killing his replacement faces a fresh charge of inciting to murder the country's prime minister, Tuilaeapa Sailele.

Toi Aukuso, 67, had the new charge laid against him at the start of his trial yesterday. His lawyer quit, and the case was adjourned until Monday without Aukuso entering a plea on three charges against him.

Aukuso was earlier charged with murdering Works Minister Luagalau Levaulu Kamu on July 16, and incitement to murder Kamu.

A death sentence was imposed last Friday on Eletise Leafa Vitale, 34, who pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court to murdering Kamu, 44.

Kamu was killed with a single rifle shot in the back at an anniversary function for the ruling Human Rights Protection Party.

Vitale's father, fired Women's Affairs Minister Leafa Vitale, 56, appeared in court last week also charged with the murder. He was due to enter a plea today.

Aukuso's lawyer, Toleafoa Toaillomona, told Judge Andrew Wilson his client had hired a new attorney and that police had not advised the defense of the fresh charge.

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