28 Nov 2007

US government opposes return of passport to American Samoa Senator

8:35 am on 28 November 2007

The United States government is opposing American Samoa Senator Tulifua Lam Yuen's motion for the government to return his passport.

Tulifua along with American Samoa's Lt. Governor Ipulasi Aitofele Sunia is charged with conspiracy to defraud the government.

US attorneys say Tulifua does not offer the court any specific examples of necessary travel nor does he state that he has any specific expectation of international travel in the foreseeable future.

Tulifua had argued that his position as a territorial senator much like Lt Governor Ipulasi Aitofele Sunia, required him to travel on official business.

The federal district court had granted Ipulasi's motion to have his passport returned.

However, Senate officials in American Samoa say that Tulifua is not expected to make any official trips.