22 Jul 2004

Samoa government accused of underpaying for Salelologa land

2:14 pm on 22 July 2004

The opposition in Samoa has accused the government of effectively stealing millions of dollars from the town of Salelologa by paying too little for land.

The deputy leader of the Samoa Democratic United Party, Asiata Dr. Saleimoa Vaai, says the government has paid only 1.4 million US dollars for nearly 3000 acres taken from the town.

Asiata says an independent valuation has put the price at more than 15 million dollars.

He says the law requires the government to pay just and fair compensation.

Asiata says either the government pays up or only takes 1.4 million dollars worth of land and returns the rest.

Three of the seven subvillages of Salelologa took the Minister of Lands, Survey and Environment to court.

Among other grievances the subvillages claimed their senior orator and 10 other chiefs did not have the authority to sign over their land for that price.

Earlier this month the Supreme Court ruled the land agreement signed was legally binding.