27 Jan 2006

Samoa opposition alleges government funds misspent on airline

2:26 pm on 27 January 2006

The Samoan opposition leader, Le Mamea Ropati, says spending millions on Polynesian Airlines is a waste of public funds.

The Samoa Observer quotes Le Mamea as telling parliament that state owned enterprises had borrowed millions of tala from the Samoa National Provident Fund but now it appears some are unable to repay the money.

He used Polynesian as an example.

Le Mamea says making loans to a company that loses money like Polynesian Airlines was not a sound investment.

He also criticized the joint venture between the government and Virgin Blue, saying the Australian carrier promised cheap fares but that has not happened.

The Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele countered by accusing Le Mamea of being misleading and having tunnel vision.

He says Polynesian made a profit from 1995 to 2000 and the airline only generated a loss after the September 11th attacks.