25 May 2005

American Samoan auditor removal decision told to leaders in advance

4:04 pm on 25 May 2005

The American Samoa Governor, Togiola Tulafono, says the decision to remove George Webster as Territorial Auditor was made known to leaders of the Fono, the Department of Interior and Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin before it happened.

The governor outlined his reasons for removing Mr Webster on his weekly radio show saying that he had first discussed Mr Webster's removal with the Department of Interior last year, but Interior indicated that there was a peer review of the Audit Office and asked that the governor delay his decision until after the review.

Togiola said the review found that the Audit Office did not comply with government auditing standards and could not provide evidence to back up its findings.

Togiola said Mr Webster tended to be influenced by the politics of the day and when complaints were directed at an agency he would come up with an audit.

The governor said Mr Webster would begin by citing the law but when asked to provide supporting evidence to back up his findings he took the approach that his word as Territorial Auditor was enough.