7 Sep 2007

American Samoa emergency agency gets help

12:56 pm on 7 September 2007

American Samoa's legislature has authorised assistance to staff the Territorial Emergency Management Coordinating Office or TEMCO.

Federal homeland security funds for TEMCO are frozen while a US government probe into alleged misused of these funds by the American Samoa government continues.

TEMCO laid off around 20 workers earlier this year when a probe began after a federal report cited serious misuse of funds by TEMCO and the Territorial Office of Homeland Security.

The acting director of the Homeland Office, Mike Sala, says the Fono has granted his request for more than 100,000 US dollars to hire five people to staff TEMCO.

"Nothing to do with Homeland Security money. TEMCO is created by law and I think there is an obligation by local government to fund those positions, to fund the operation of TEMCO, and then I requested this to the executive branch through the budget and the budget has approved, and then yesterday I testified before the Fono on that budget and I believe it's going to be a coup to have those positions."

Mike Sala