14 Jan 2008

American Samoa government departments under scrutiny

10:02 am on 14 January 2008

The Attorney General's Office in American Samoa has advised a number of government departments that the Department of Public Safety is conducting an investigation into overtime payments to government employees.

Two of the main targets of the probe are the Treasury Department's Customs Office and the Agriculture Department's Quarantine division.

Sources say the probe was the result of work by the Senate Select Investigative Committee, whose investigation targeted Customs and Quarantine.

In May last year, the committee requested that Attorney General Fepuleai Afa Ripley Jr., conduct a criminal investigation into allegations about questionable payments of government overtime.

It claims there was intentional and fraudulent use of overtime by Agriculture, Customs, Airport, and Payroll personell.

The committee says problems in those departments may be indicative of a more widespread problem throughout government.