1 Dec 2008

Samoa Shipping Corporation continues fight against immigration fine

10:41 am on 1 December 2008

American Samoa's Associate Justice, Lyle Richmond, is giving attorneys 30 days to submit closing arguments in the case between the Samoa Shipping Corporation and the American Samoa Government.

The corporation, which owns the Inter Island ferry, Lady Naomi, is asking the court to refund $20,000, which it was forced to pay two years ago after the vessel landed in Pago Pago with members of a school rugby team who did not have entry permits.

The fine was imposed under immigration law by then Attorney General Sialega Malaetasi Togafau.

The Samoa Shipping Corporation is suing the American Samoan government in an effort to get the fine reimbursed.

Its main argument is that a former acting Attorney General had given an opinion that the fine was not warranted since the rugby team never set foot on local soil, but were instead left on the boat until the vessel returned the Samoa the evening of the morning it arrived.

Under local immigration law an airline or shipping company is liable to a $1,000 fine for each foreigner that it transports to the territory without an American Samoan entry permit.