4 May 2004

American Samoan auditor to testify

3:44 pm on 4 May 2004

American Samoa's auditor will reveal which government departments have avoided audits under oath tomorrow.

George Webster has been given a subpoena to appear before the senate select investigative committee for information.

He says there are at least two government departments habitually avoiding audits.

"The auditor's mentality is where there's smoke, there's fire and where there's reluctance it makes an auditor more motivated. I don't like to try and force the issue, but if you are a public auditor and not independent, then you really are pretty ineffectual."

George Webster says he will explain why legislation for subpoena powers is necessary for him to be able to do his job.

Mr Webster says he believes the audit office needs enforcement powers, because current legislation gives the auditor access to all information, but provides no way of enforcing it.