13 Sep 2007

American Samoa lawmaker questions reports of Fono budget blowout

10:32 am on 13 September 2007

American Samoa's Tuala-uta Representative, Mase Akapo Akapo, has raised questions about the Fono's budget.

The first term lawmaker says he has heard radio reports and read in the newspaper that the Fono has run out of money.

He says the Fono is currently reviewing the government budget and the lawmaking body should be setting an example for the rest of the government to follow.

The House Speaker, Savali Talavou Ale. says members should not take notice of media reports.

He said neither the Treasurer nor the governor has informed the Fono that it has no money.

The Speaker said he would ask for a report on the Fono's budget from the Legislative Financial Office.

Officials at Treasury have said that with two weeks remaining in fiscal year 2007 the Fono's budget of more than $6 million was in the red by $150,000 as of last Friday.

According to the officials, Treasurer Velega Savali is refusing to process lawmakers allowance cheques unless a funding source is identified, and this would have to be approved by the governor.