2 Oct 2003

American House of Representatives rejects call for Speaker to step down

9:37 am on 2 October 2003

The House of Representatives in American Samoa has unanimously rejected a resolution asking that Speaker Matagi Ray McMoore step down over allegations he misused House funds.

It had been alleged that Matagi had used House funds to purchase his vehicle and for off-island trips for his wife.

In remarks before he excused himself while members voted on the measure, Matagi said an investigation by the Attorney General's Office had found no evidence that he had violated the law or committed a crime.

He also said the FBI had looked into the allegations and cleared him.

Matagi also told the House that allegations against him were caused by his differences with Rep Agaoleatu Charlie Tautolo over a business dealing, a reference to a dispute over the ownership of a McDonald's franchise.

The House voted 14-0 to reject the resoulution after Rep Vaiausia Yandall said he was satified with Matagi's statements and abstained from voting.