Senate tackles surveying of Nuufou lands
By: Tosimaeʻa Tupua
The witness Sione, from the Department of Public Works has told senate members that he first knew about the Nuufou project when Mapusone took leave to survey the more than 400 acres of virgin bush lands. Sione told senate members that he had no direct involvement in the Nuufou, Mapusone was the only person who surveyed Nuufou.
Chairman of the Senate Committee Senator Satele was the first to voice his concerns about Nuufou. He said the matter concerning Nuufou has attracted a lot of attention lately since reports first surfaced in the media. “This is a serious matter and the role of the Senate is very important not only to put to end what is happening and also to prevent this sort of issue from occurring again in the future,” said Satele.
He continued, “All that land belonging to villages and districts have been delineated, beginning from the sea shore to the mountain tops”. Senator Satele asked the witness about his involvement in the survey. The witness responded that he only drove the men to the site that was surveyed.
Senator Alo Paul Stevenson, asked the witness about the borders of Malaeimi. Stevenson wanted to know where Maleimi ends and also where Nuufou lies on the map given that Malaeimi is also included in the Nuufou registration. Sione responded that it is difficult to pinpoint exactly where Maleimi begins and ends on the map as the majority of village lands cannot be defined. According to Sione some areas have overlapped due to family connection and people moving closer to other areas outside of boundaries of where they should live.
Senator Tuaiagamoa who was listening attentively to the proceedings then questioned the witness if he knew whether Mapusone was working on his own or during government time, in which Sione responded Mapusone took leave to survey Nuufou.
Senator Magalei who claims to have the original documentations of the land then moved to support a motion moved by Senator Faiiave earlier to defer discussions until Mapusone returns from overseas. Senator Magalei said Maupsone is the only person that can provide answers why Nuufou was only surveyed for two days. He said 400 acres of land cannot be surveyed in 2 days.
In support, Senator Utu also moved to defer discussions and asked the witness if he was a surveyor in which he responded by saying No. President Tuaolo, who was last to speak, demanded to know the owner of the equipment used to survey Nuufou. The witness responded that the equipment used were Mapusone’s.