8 Jan 2003

Claims that American Samoa's re-elected Speaker used wife's bingo money to finance campaign

4:48 pm on 8 January 2003

American Samoa's re-elected Speaker of the House, Matagi Ray McMoore, has rejected claims that his re-election campaign was funded by his wife's bingo operations.

Defeated candidate, Muavaefaatasi Ae Ae Jr. says it is a well known fact that Matagi's wife is one of the biggest bingo operators on the island.

He says some Matagi supporters have told him that the Speaker spent big money soliciting votes.

He claims that the Speaker and his wife paid airfares and accomodation costs for eleven supporters who travelled to Apia the week before Christmas.

He also says he was told that at the final meeting of the Matagi camp last week each of those attending was given one thousand dollars and 50 fine mats.

Muavaefaatasi, who plans to initiate an investigation into Mrs McMoore's bingo operations, says the law only allows bingo for charitable causes and funding a campaign for public office is defenitely not in that category.

Matagi says he can't stop a faipule from making baseless accusations.

He says he has a job to finance his campaign and the allegations are untrue.