25 Sep 2002

Pervasive abuse of funds by American Samoa's speaker alleged

3:36 pm on 25 September 2002

The director of American Samoa's criminal intelligence agency says there's evidence of pervasive abuse of public funds by the speaker of the House of Representatives.

Mike Sala says reports to his office show that allegations that the speaker, Matagi Ray McMoore, used Fono funds to buy a car, are only the tip of the iceberg.

It's also been alleged that fono funds were used to pay for travel expenses by Matagi's wife.

Mr Sala says the investigation was launched after concerns were raised by a government representative and a citizen's group.

"My office has decided that there is sufficient evidence of a pervasive pattern of abuse of government funds to warrant an investigation to determine if any rules, regulations and or laws of the territory of American Samoa and or any laws of the United States of America applicable to the territory have been violated."

Mr Sala says if the allegations are proven, the attorney general's office would prosecute the speaker.