18 Feb 2004

American Samoa Senate committee accuses attorney general of witness tampering

7:33 am on 18 February 2004

American Samoa's Senate Select Investigative Committee has accused the territory's attorney-general, Fiti Sunia, of attempting to tamper with witnesses.

The accusation comes after the attorney-general advised the Development Bank of American Samoa not to hand over loan records subpoenaed by the committee

The committee had asked the bank for records of loans that have been written off, charged off or in default, as well as details of loans over fifty thousand US dollars made to present and past directors and employees of the bank.

The Chair of the Committee, Senator Lualemaga Faoa says tampering with a witness is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to five thousand dollars.

He said Mr Sunia's action was a violation of territorial bar laws and grounds for disbarment.

The senator also suggested that attorney-general reconsider his position or the Senate would find him in contempt.