11 Mar 2004

American Samoan attorney general to cited for contempt

2:30 pm on 11 March 2004

American Samoa's attorney general, Fiti Sunia, is to be cited for contempt of the legislature.

The senate president, Lutu Fuimaono, says there is no need for the Senate to vote on the decision by the Senate Committee of the Whole, which discussed the matter.

Lutu Fuimaono has told Senators the Committee of the Whole represents the entire senate and he ruled that its decision be carried out.

The contempt citation stems from advice by the attorney general to the Commissioner and Prison Warden not to appear before the Senate Select Investigatie Committee probing alleged corruption in government.

The Committee's chairman, Senator Lualemaga Faoa, says the attorney general is being cited for interfering with the subpoena powers of the investigating committee, tampering with witnesses, obstructing the legislative process and obstruction of justice.

Our correspondent in Pago Pago says there are just two days left before the Senate adjourns, so a contempt hearing will have to be held in court.