18 Sep 2003

American Samoa senate seeks criminal investigation into Chief Procurement Officer

9:41 am on 18 September 2003

The Senate Select Investigate Committee in American Samoa has requested that Governor Togiola Tulafono order a criminal invesigation into the Chief Procurement Officer, Faau Seumanutafa.

A letter from the committee was given to the governor asking him to direct the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Public Safety to begin a criminal investigation.

The Committe Chairman, Lualemaga Faoa, says during its hearings Mr Seumanutafa admitted abusing procurement statutes and approving contracts for his family members.

Lualemaga says Mr Seumanutafa did this in the interests if his family and not in the interests of American Samoa.

It is alleged that Mr Seumanutafa cancelled contracts and substituted companies to which he had an interest or family connection.

The chairman says he also approved double payments and orders for projects that tripled or quadrupled the original cost.

The committee's request comes as the governor reviews a report by the Criminal Invesitgations and Intelligence Bureau of the same allegations.