12 Apr 2011

Row over allowances among American Samoa leadership continues

2:19 pm on 12 April 2011

A squabble between the American Samoa governor and the territory's lawmakers is continuing with Togiola Tulafono appearing to have withheld expense payments.

The territorial government is battling a financial crisis and wants to increase taxes but some of the lawmakers are opposed to the move.

The House speaker, Savali Talavou Ale, said this morning the Fono leaders have not been officially informed their allowance cheques will be withheld.

The treasurer, Magalei Logovii, had indicated last week there was only enough money to cover the government payroll for today and that allowance cheques for the Fono and payments to vendors will have to wait.

Togiola told cabinet last week that if local revenues didn't improve he was considering withholding the Fono's expense allowance cheques.

The speaker says they're hoping to meet Togiola this week.

It's believed the status of the allowance cheques will be on the agenda, as well as whether there will be a special Fono session the governor wants to pass new taxes.