3 Sep 2003

American Samoan Government blames media for director's resignation

5:03 pm on 3 September 2003

The American Samoan Governor's office says media speculation has caused the Director of Education, Dr Sili Sataua, to resign amid allegations of misappropriation involving the food supplied as part of the School Lunch Programme.

Despite claims attributed to senior Education officials that the governor asked for his resignation, Dr Sataua said he stepped down of his own will.

The Governor's special assistant, and the Head of the Territorial Homeland Security Office, Leiataua Alai'lima Birdsall, says Dr Sataua resigned because he felt that he would be ineffective as Director with all the hype over the allegations.

He says Dr Sataua is being judged in the press even though there has been no court ruling.

"In many ways the press sensationalises something and it tramples, really, on government workers, you know, on the rights of government workers, and then it becomes so embarassing that these people are just forced out of office without getting a fair trial, really."

Leiataua Alai'lima says the Acting director of Education, Dr Lui Tuitala is yet to be confirmed by the Fono.