20 Oct 2003

Fraud charge dropped, another added against American Samoan public officialOne

4:20 pm on 20 October 2003

The District Court of American Samoa has dismissed a fraud charge against the vice-chairman of the government-owned Development Bank of American Samoa, Don Fuimaono.

Fuimaono, the eldest son of Senate President Lutu Tenari Fuimaono, was arrested two weeks ago and originally charged with one count of criminal fraud and one of deceptive business practice stemming from the procurement of canned fruits for the school lunch programme.

The District Court Judge, John Ward, dismissed the fraud charge but added another of felony stealing.

The charges are part of an ongoing government investigation into allegations of mispending and misappropriation of public funds.

This week Fuimaono will receive new legal counsel after Robert Maez withdrew because he was also the attorney for the Senate Investigative Committee, currently probing the school lunch programme.