18 Jun 2013

Samoa's Minister of Finance again under fire for China trip

4:34 am on 18 June 2013

Samoa's Minister of Finance, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga has defended a trip to China paid for by a company applying for an investment project in Samoa.

Faumuina, who came under criticism last month when a list of grievances against him by colleagues was published in the Samoa Observer, told the paper the trip was necessary.

The paper says Shanghai Construction Group is likely to be awarded the contract for a new 55 million US dollar 15-storey building.

Faumuina says the company paying for his trip saved taxpayers money, and the Government paid for his later trip on to India.

Opposition leader, Palusalue Faapo II told the Sunday Samoan the minister disobeyed instructions from Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi not to invite conflicts of interest.

Palusalue says Faumuina has given the company an "all-access pass" for the investment.