31 Mar 2006

Samoa's prime minister says he has no plans to sell customary land

10:30 am on 31 March 2006

The Samoan prime minister says he has no plans to sell customary land to service debt or to secure loans.

The leaders of the SDUP and Samoa Party sent over 50,000 pamphlets to villages claiming the government wants to sell customary land.

Tuilaepa Sailele says the pamphlets are defamatory and in breach of election decency.

The Prime Minister says the opposition suggestion that government wants to use the customary land in World Bank transactions is false.

Tuilaepa says there is also no need to repay debts by selling customary lands as has been suggested.

"That is another ridiculous allegation because we have a very strong debt-service capacity with only 19-million debt payment every year which is a figure well below our total revenue of just less than half a million dollars per annum which shows up further the stupidity of the allegation."

Tuilaepa says the claims are a last minute effort to sabotage his election campaign.

Voting in Samoas general elections begin tomorrow.