12 Mar 2007

American Samoa's Attorney General has died

5:57 am on 12 March 2007

American Samoa's Attorney General, Sialega Malaetas Togafau, has passed away in Honolulu.

He was in his early 60's

Sialega's long and distinguished public service includes tenures as a lawmaker, a district court judge, administrative law judge and Attorney General.

He was elected to the House of Representatives in the 1992 elections but was unable to finish his term as he was appointed by Governor AP Lutali to serve as attorney general from 1992 to 1996.

As AG, he earned a reputation for being a tough and no nonsense director. He also served as a District Court judge and was known for his stiff sentencing of drunk drivers.

He was again elected to the House of Representatives in the 2006 elections but again was unable to finish his term as he was appointed as the territory's first Administrative Law Judge by then Governor Tauese Sunia.

Sialega continued in that post until he was chosen by Governor Togiola to serve as Attorney General in 2005.

Sialega's indelible mark is likely to be in the enforcement of immigration law.

He said in past interviews that protecting the territory's borders had made him unpopular but he was simply following the law.

In his village of Nuuuli, Sialega headed the untitled men or aumaga and was captain of the village fautasi the Satani.

He is survived by his wife Oreta and children.