15 Dec 2003

American Samoan senator believes corruption in government is widespread

4:56 pm on 15 December 2003

An American Samoan senator says he believes corruption is widespread within the territorial government.

Senator Lualemaga E. Faoa, who is the chairman of the Senate Select Investigative Committee, or the SSIC, says evidence was uncovered during its probe that shows the corruption wasn't isolated.

The SSIC has officially asked the FBI to investigate because the attorney general, Fiti Sunia, and members of his family, appear to be implicated.

Lualemaga says they had no choice but to approach the FBI as the attorney general is the territory's sole local prosecutor.

"We're not accusing the attorney-general, but the way we are looking at it, some of his family members' names appear during our investigations. And we are now saying that they are committed but that's how we feel, that may be part of the delaying of the investigations"

Lualemaga says the FBI is yet to respond to the request but he sees the appeal as the last resort for justice in the territory.