26 May 2009

American Samoa government ordered to repay fine

1:39 pm on 26 May 2009

The High Court of American Samoa has ordered the American Samoa Government to refund 20,000 US dollars to the Samoa Shipping Corporation or SSC plus interests of six percent per annum.

The ruling was made in a petition filed by the SSC in 2007, contesting a fine that was imposed by then Attorney General Sialega Malaetasi Togafau in 2006.

Sialega issued the fine after the SSC vessel the Lady Naomi brought a school rugby team from Samoa that did not have American Samoa entry permits.

The team was not allowed to leave the vessel and remained on board until it returned in the afternoon to Apia.

The Samoa Shipping Corporation argued that it should not have been fined because the team never left the boat.

The High Court agreed, saying that the team members never landed in American Samoa and therefore there was no violation of local law.

The High Court ruled the American Samoa Government must reimburse Samoa Shipping the 20,000 dollars improperly assessed and fine paid in 2006 plus costs of suit and interest.