25 Jun 2004

American Samoa watchdog group welcomes Federal role in fight against corruption

10:30 am on 25 June 2004

The American Samoan watchdog group Common Cause has welcomed the Federal Government's increased efforts to fight corruption in the territory.

About 15 people, including two Representatives and the Territorial Auditor, attended a public meeting held by Common Cause in Pago Pago yesterday.

The Group's publicity chairman Dale Long says they have a lot of support in the territory but many people conceal it for fear of coercion by the government, who many of them are employed by.

Mr Long says anti-corruption is growing now that the Federal government is getting more involved in the territory's affairs.

"Local people in administration here thought they were immune from federal law. That's been proven wrong - they've been handcuffed, a few. There will be more and it's interesting and it's encouraging to see that the Federal government is finally taking notice of what's going on down here. It's been asleep for a long long time. I mean these guys are like the mafia, you know, they're just about as bad."

Dale Long says their focus from now until the elections is to encourage people to vote.