CANBERRA (Reuters) -The former prime minister of Samoa on Monday ended months of political instability by conceding defeat in an election held in April that ended his 22 years in power.
Samoa descended into chaos earlier this year after then Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi refused to give way after losing a parliamentary election to former deputy prime minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa.
Samoa’s Court of Appeal ruled last week that a makeshift swearing in ceremony was legal, officially installing Mataafa as the country’s first female prime minister and her Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) Party in power.
“FAST here is the government,” Tuilaepa said in a speech pasted on Facebook.
The concession followed regional pressure to honour the court ruling, including from Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison amid concerns about ongoing tension.
“It’s definitely a relief to see this saga finally reach a peaceful conclusion,” said Jonathan Pryke, Director, Pacific Islands Program at the Lowy Institute, a Sydney-based think tank.
“It is also the start of a new era of Samoan politics where the new ruling government faces a robust opposition within the parliamentary chamber for the first time in decades.”
Mataafa said on Saturday her government would formally take office on Tuesday.
Samoa, which relies on subsistence farming along with tourism and fish and coconut product exports, has had to depend on foreign aid and is heavily indebted to China, which offered to back a port development by the previous government.
Fiame told Reuters in May she would shelve the Beijing-backed port development, calling the $100 million project excessive for a small country already deep in debt.
“The Ford was Princes Diana’s personal transport in the early and happiest part of her relationship with the Prince of Wales and there are numerous photographs of her driving it and even her watching the Prince playing polo, sitting inside it,” the Reeman Dansie statement reads.
The auctioneers said the unnamed seller was a woman who was a great admirer of Diana and who had kept the car’s royal roots a secret even from her friends.
The Ford saloon comes with a silver frog mascot on the bonnet, a copy of a gift from Diana’s sister, Sarah Spencer.
Reeman Dansie said the gift was to remind Diana of “the fairy tale of a beautiful girl whose kiss turns a frog into a prince.”
It’s not the first time a Diana vehicle has sold for an impressive sum — her Audi convertible was sold last year for £58,000 ($80,300).
A Manhattan grand jury on Wednesday indicted the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, according to people familiar with the matter.
The charges, which people familiar with the matter told the media earlier Wednesday are related to alleged tax crimes in connection with an array of perks and benefits awarded to employees, are expected to be unsealed Thursday. It was not immediately clear how many charges are in the indictments.
Though former President Donald Trump faced multiple federal and state prosecutorial inquiries during his administration, the district attorney’s indictment would be the first to charge his namesake company with criminal conduct.
Trump himself isn’t expected to be charged, his lawyer has said. The Wall Street Journal first reported the expected charges.
Weisselberg is expected to turn himself into prosecutors Thursday morning, two sources with knowledge said.
Mary Mulligan, a lawyer for Weisselberg, declined to comment. A spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance declined to comment. A lawyer for the Trump Organization didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The expected charges are set to come after lawyers for the Trump Organization met twice with prosecutors in recent days to present arguments about why the company shouldn’t face criminal charges.
And they will come after more than two years of investigation that began with an inquiry into accounting connected to hush-money payments made by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and expanded to include questions about whether the company or certain employees paid taxes on benefits including rent-free apartments, car leases or private school tuition.
Prosecutors have also scrutinized cash bonuses paid to employees and whether appropriate taxes were paid on them,
Though prosecutors have focused on Weisselberg in an effort to coax him into cooperating with their investigation, his lawyers recently informed the district attorney’s office that he would not cooperate, people familiar with the matter said.
An indictment against him would likely significantly increase the pressure on him to comply with prosecutors’ demands.
However, a source familiar with the matter says the pressure on Weisselberg has not been successful for a reason.
“Consider the possibility that Allen has nothing to flip on,” the source said.
Investigators’ scrutiny of Weisselberg began late last year, as prosecutors gathered evidence on him with the assistance of his former daughter-in-law, Jennifer Weisselberg. Since then, she has turned over boxes of financial records and has met with investigators multiple times, her lawyer Duncan Levin told the media.
On Wednesday, Levin said she was pleased to learn of forthcoming charges against her former father-in-law and his longtime employer.
“We have been working with prosecutors for many months now as part of this tax and financial investigation and have provided a large volume of evidence that allowed them to bring these charges,” Levin said. “We are gratified to hear that the DA’s office is moving forward with a criminal case.
In recent weeks, as prosecutors have inched closer to bringing charges, Trump has lashed out at their inquiries, deriding the probe — led by Vance and New York state Attorney General Letitia James, both Democrats — as conducted by “radical left” officials.
“Having politically motivated prosecutors, people who actually got elected because they will ‘get Donald Trump,’ is a very dangerous thing for our Country,” he said in a statement earlier this week. “Why would anyone bring their company to New York, or even stay in New York, knowing these Radical Left Democrats would willingly target their company if viewed as a political opponent? It is devastating for New York!”
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