27 Apr 2005

American Samoa territorial auditor defies Governor's ultimatum

7:09 pm on 27 April 2005

American Samoa's Territorial Auditor George Webster has not heeded Governor Togiola Tulafono's order to turn in his government vehicle and office keys.

Based on the advice of his lawyer, Mr Webster maintains that he cannot be removed as Territorial Auditor unless both houses of the legislature approve the governor's plan to end his contract.

However the contract includes a provision that it can be terminated without cause and this may be the legal premise for the governor's actions.

A letter from the governor to Mr Webster informed him that he was dismissed effective yesterday and was to turn in his vehicle and office keys by today.

Mr Webster was still seen driving his government pick up truck this afternoon.

He has written to the Speaker of the House and Senate President urging that they not be rushed into making a decision concerning his demise and to allow full disclosure of what is happening to the Territorial Auditor.

Mr Webster's letter documented past instances where his office had been impeded in its efforts to audit various government agencies.