9 Jan 2006

New report shows unauthorised spending by American Samoa Legislature

5:10 pm on 9 January 2006

A preliminary report of spending by two divisions of the American Samoa Legislature has shown that cheques were routinely issued to Fono employees to provide food and drinks for luncheons and parties hosted by the legislature.

As a result of the report, Senate President, Lolo Letalu Moliga, has ordered the Legislative Financial Office to stop issuing all but paycheques to staff of the Legislative Reference Bureau and the Legislative Financial Office.

Lolo says the report reveals that it has been common practice for cheques to be issued in the names of employees in the LFO and LRB to provide food, drinks and refreshments for luncheons or parties and other functions hosted by the Fono.

Also included in the list of payments are bills from hotels in Apia.

The Senate President said he couldn't believe the amount of money involved.

Lolo said except for a few cases he did not authorise the majority of expenditures contained in the Treasury report.

The investigation covers spending for the period from January 1, 2005 to December 27, 2005.

Lolo has directed that the restrictions on the issuing of cheques will remain in effect until the investigation is completed.