8 Sep 2007

American Samoa's Office of Homeland Security welcomes assistance from Fono

9:58 am on 8 September 2007

American Samoa's Office of Homeland Security has welcomed the legislature's authorisation of assistance to staff the Territorial Emergency Management Coordinating Office or TEMCO.

Federal homeland security funds for TEMCO are currently frozen while a US government probe into alleged misused of these funds by the American Samoa government continues.

TEMCO laid off around 20 workers earlier this year when a probe began after a federal report cited serious misuse of funds by TEMCO and the Territorial Office of Homeland Security.

The acting director of the Homeland Office, Mike Sala, says the Fono has granted his request for over 100-thousand US dollars to hire five people to staff TEMCO.

"At this point in time, we have not received any communication from the Department of Homeland Security in DC how much is going to be disallowable and when they're going to lift the freeze. But it is an ongoing process and we're taking corrective measures in order for us to move forward. So we're waiting for a final decision by the US department of homeland security."

Mike Sala