29 May 2004

American Samoa lawyer justifies sale of vessel

8:21 am on 29 May 2004

A lawyer acting for the Governor of American Samoa has told a senate committee that the government's sale of a boat for US$100,000 was a wise decision.

The Legal Counsel, Henry Kappel, told the Senate Select Investigative Committee yesterday, that the sale of the vessel, Townsend Cromwell, to a company in Samoa, was a wise decision.

The vessel has been widely thought to be worth much more than US$100,000.

Mr Kappel says the vessel has been listed by three overseas companies, and Pacific Helicopters of Samoa was the only group that made an offer.

He says American Samoa's Port Administration was spending lots of money to provide electricity to the boat and maintain it and these were unbudgeted costs.

Mr Kappel says it was the intention of the late territorial governor, Tauese Sunia, that the vessel would either be exchanged, or sold, in order to obtain a suitable vessel for providing transport, to, and from, the outer Manu'a islands.