22 Sep 2016

Election candidates debate proposed American Samoa bank

6:54 pm on 22 September 2016

The Territorial Bank of American Samoa has become a contentious issue on the campaign front.

American Samoa's House of Representatives chamber during the vote on the bill to increase salaries.

American Samoa's House of Representatives chamber during the vote on the bill to increase salaries. Photo: Supplied

Senator Laolagi Vaeao had criticised Representative Larry Sanitoa for his continued opposition to the government bank and said he was not being accurate.

Mr Sanitoa, a candidate for Lieutenant Governor in the November elections, opposed the bill to establish the bank because he said it would not be insured and there was not enough due diligence.

Mr Vaeao said he was surprised Mr Sanitoa continued to question the legality of the bank.

He said once the bank was operational, efforts would be made to get insurance coverage.

But Mr Sanitoa addressed his concerns on local radio

"All we said is that people need to be aware and be concerned that this bank does not have insurance and there are a lot of issues that are beyond our understanding that we should be concerned with. I have talked with a lot of banking professionals, people who understand the details of the bank, and they have all advised that this is not a good plan."

Larry Sanitoa also said the territory needed to make sure there were enough legal protections to avoid the involvement of politics or nepotism.