3 May 2007

American Samoa Senate requests review of decision to refund fine to Samoa

10:44 am on 3 May 2007

The American Samoa Senate has requested the Attorney General review whether the territorial government made the right decision to refund a $20,000 US dollar fine levied on the Samoa government.

The Samoa Shipping Corporation filed a lawsuit last year challenging the fine it was ordered to pay after the inter-island ferry brought a Samoa rugby team into the territory without entry permits in October last year.

However the Attorney General, Fepuleai Afa Ripley Jr, told the Senate that he was not fully aware of this issue except for what the local media reported on.

He said the lawsuit on this case by the Samoa government is still pending in the High Court of American Samoa.

However, the company's local attorney Katopau Ainu'u maintains that the team never left the vessel.

Treasury Department's legal counsel Benton H. Walton in a letter last month agreed with Ainu'u.

Mr Walton said the territorial government is prepared to refund the $20,000 if Ainu'u dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice.