11 May 2005

U.S. committee approves grant to American Samoa with reservations

3:55 pm on 11 May 2005

The US Appropriations Committee is putting pressure on the Department of Interior to designate American Samoa as high risk when it comes to grants.

This follows its conditional approval of a grant to the territory of 23.1 million US dollars for its basic operations, which includes 2 million dollars for urgently needed medicines and supplies at the LBJ Medical Centre.

The U.S. Congress is now expected to pass the grant on the recommendation.

But, our correspondent, Monica Miller, says the Appropriations Committee has concerns about the way federal funds are distributed and managed.

"The committee has said that the Department of Interior should work with all other federal agencies that award grants to American Samoa, and consider designating American Samoa, a high risk grantee."

Ms Miller says if American Samoa is labelled a high risk grantee, it would have to meet quite stringent audit conditions for the federal funds.