5 May 2003

American Samoa's Congressman calls for limited federal court jurisdiction

10:59 am on 5 May 2003

American Samoa's Congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, says it could be time to consider the establishment of limited federal court jurisdiction in the territory.

His comments were prompted by the federal trial of eight American Samoans taking place in Honolulu.

The eight accused were arrested after an FBI investigation and now face a number of fraud charges involving an American medical insurance scheme.

Faleomavaega says it is no surprise that the trial is taking place in Hawaii.

"They have to be brought physically to Hawaii for trial because we have no federal district court in the territory, so I'm not surprised that this is happening, I say, I believe that this is going to continue to happen unless the Congress decided to establish a federal district court in the territory."

The eight accused will appear in court today( Mon) for detention and identification hearings.