30 Apr 2002

American Samoan landowners seek eviction of biggest private employer

5:29 am on 30 April 2002

American Samoan landowners have taken legal action in a bid to evict the cannery StarKist Samoa which is the territory's biggest private employer with nearly 4-thousand staff.

The Satala Land Trust filed a complaint in the high court because StarKist Samoa refused to pay more than the 423 US dollars a month which was the sum agreed in a 1977 lease that had expired nine years ago.

Our correspondent, Fili Sagapolutele, says the landowners also want backpay of more than 110-thousand dollars after StarKist's unauthorised expansion.

"They have hiked the rent by ten thousand dollars starting from march last year after the trust found out that Starkist Samoa has expanded infrstructure beyond the land boundry of the original lease and had allowed another tanning plant called Impress American Samoa to operate on the land without the permission of the trust."

Fili Sagapolutele says the case is set to go to trial on June the 7th.