29 Oct 2008

Independent prosecution law approved in American Samoa

9:01 pm on 29 October 2008

The US Secretary of the Interior has approved an 8 year old law that authorises American Samoa's Attorney General to appoint an independent counsel to prosecute cases where the Attorney General's Office has a conflict.

Director of the Office of Insular Affairs Nikolao Pula has informed Governor Togiola Tulafono that he has approved the law on behalf of the secretary of the Interior.

He said the law is now fully implemented and effective.

The special prosecutor law was signed into law in 2000, but was not fully promulgated because the express approval of the Secretary of the interior or his designee was missing.

A secretarial order made in 1951, requires all legislation that pertain to the judiciary to be approved by the Secretary of the Interior.

The missing step only came to the fore after the government brought charges against four employees of the Attorney General's Office suspected of embezzling fees paid by the public for certificates of identity.