5 May 2005

Former Territorial Auditor alleges criminal activity at Development Bank of American Samoa

10:21 am on 5 May 2005

American Samoa's dumped Territorial Auditor, George Webster, is alleging that there has been criminal activity at the Development Bank of American Samoa involving millions of dollars.

Mr Webster told a special fono session that an audit of the bank had uncovered that substantial loans to bank directors and government officials had been written off when they shouldn't have been handed out in the first place.

He said he'd asked the Attorney-General to launch a criminal investigation some time ago but had had no response.

Our correspondent, Monica Miller, says Mr Webster told the fono that there was enough evidence to justify suspicions of criminal neglect at the Bank.

"Millions of dollars in loans had been issued to government officials and their supporters, directors of the bank and employees, and a lot of these loans were just charged off or were in default."

Ms Miller says questions remain as to whether the audits launched by Mr Webster into the Development Bank and another into the Pago Pago airport will continue now that he's been dumped.