6 Oct 2004

American Samoa's investigative committee to go ahead with hearings

4:17 pm on 6 October 2004

A stand-off is continuing between American Samoa's attorney-general, Fiti Sunia, and the senate select investigative committee, the SSIC.

The SSIC says it plans to go ahead with hearings this week despite Mr Sunia's telling cabinet members and government employees not to honour any subpoenas issued by the committee.

The government treasurer, the director of education and the director of parks and recreation have all been subpoenaed to appear.

But, Mr Sunia says the SSIC's authority has expired and they should be ignored.

Our correspondent, Fili Sagapolutele says the SSIC will hold the hearings and if people do not show up, they may consider taking action.

"They can file with the High court of American Samoa contempt of the Investigative committee. Now, that process again will take time and we only have so many months left in the year, and we also have an election coming up next month so it's not clear at this point what action the investigative committee will take."

Fili Sagapolutele says the SSIC has been investigating suspected abuse of public funds and mismanagement in government.