6 May 2005

US Department of Interior concerned over American Samoa territorial office

2:42 pm on 6 May 2005

The US Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior has warned that further disorder surrounding American Samoa's territorial audit office could have a negative impact on the amount of grant funds that the Interior is able to provide the territory.

David Cohen says when funds are allocated the office considers whether there is a qualified public auditor in place, with sufficient funding and qualified staff to do a good job.

This is of particular concern given recent claims of abuse of funds.

Mr Cohen says the selection of an auditor is a local matter and it is not up the Office of Insular Affairs to decide if any particular auditor should be in office.

The comment comes after American Samoa dumped its auditor this week.