9 Feb 2011

American Samoa lawmakers told they can't use current budget to clear old debt

2:34 pm on 9 February 2011

The American Samoa Government is using money allocated to the current fiscal year to clear a deficit from last year, which the Fono's chief lawyer says is illegal.

The senate's budget and appropriations committee reports there's no issue with revenue collections for the current fiscal year, but the problem the government faces is a deficit from 2010 of nine point one million US dollars.

Legislative counsel Henry Kappel says the use of current funds to pay for bills from a previous fiscal year appears to violate a court ruling which prohibits the government from doing exactly that.

He has made this recommendation to the senators.

"Revenues for 2011 must be applied to current expenses. Application in spending to the 2010 deficit needs to be stopped immediately and they need to stop spending without appropriation and stay within the budget."

The chief lawyer of the American Samoa Fono, Henry Kappel.