10 May 2005

American Samoa Senate President says concepts of accountability has not improved

7:47 pm on 10 May 2005

The American Samoa Senate President, Lolo Letalu Moliga, says he believes the concept of checks and balances has not been significantly advanced in the territory's Government.

Lolo says the governor, Togiola Tulafono, continues to freely use his executive powers without concern over long-term consequences because the Fono lacks the veto power to check actions which are against the wishes of the majority of the people.

The Senate President points to the McDonald's lease on Utulei beach as a case in point.

Lolo says Governor Togiola has approved the lease without regard to the people's concerns including, environmental, zoning, traffic problems and the killing of small business.

Lolo has made the statements in a request to the US Department of Interior for 150-thousand US dollars to acquire staff and computers to help the Senate carry out its oversight functions.

In the same request, Lolo says a recent report of the General Accounting Office of Congress demanded close oversight and monitoring of federally funded program administered by the governmment.