18 Sep 2008

High profile Samoa Cabinet Minister facing immigration charges in United States

3:14 pm on 18 September 2008

A high profile Samoan politician could face up to 15 years in jail if convicted of immigration charges in the United States.

Hans Joachim Keil has been charged with one count of falsely and wilfully representing himself to be a US citizen and one count of attempting to use a US passport.

The charges relate to an application for citizenship made by Mr Keil in 1967.

Our correspondent in American Samoa, Monica Miller, says the Samoan government has strongly protested against Mr Keil's detention and deputy prime minister, Misa Telefoni, says his arrest is the result of a misunderstanding.

"Misa Telefoni, the acting prime minister issued a statement late yesterday saying that the Samoa government has objected quite vehemently to what has happened and they have also got the assistance of Congressman Faleomavaega, Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice who you know was in Samoa quite recently, and the Ambassador of Samoa in New York. They're all working on getting this issue resolved."

Monica Miller