25 Aug 2008

Questions raised in American Samoa over interest being paid on outstanding payment

11:21 am on 25 August 2008

American Samoa's Acting Attorney-General, Jennifer Augsperger has told a hearing reviewing an appropriations bill to pay a multi million dollar court judgment against the government that there's no attempt at this stage to stop the accruing interest of 6% per annum on the award.

The High Court has ordered that the American Samoa Government pay $6.6 million plus post judgment interest to insurance company Progressive Insurance for damages in the Laufou Shopping Centre fire in 2004.

Ms Augsperger says her focus at this stage is on the legal issues and the pending appeal by the American Samoa government.

She has rejected suggestions from lawmakers that the government should negotiate with the insurance company to stop the interest from accruing.

Another suggestion was to pay the interest now into a trust fund pending the outcome of the appeal.

Representative Archief Taotasi Soliai said by the time the current Fono session ends, accrued interest would be half a million dollars.

He said if the government's appeal is rejected by the court the bill will have reached as much as $8 million.