20 Jul 2004

American Samoan chief's call to end corruption investigation causes an outcry

6:55 pm on 20 July 2004

A comment made by a chief in American Samoa that the Senate should stop its corruption investigations has caused an outcry in judicial and government circles.

Chief Atiulagi Pese, who is a judge, was speaking at the centennial celebrations of the Manu'a Islands when he asked the Senate President, Tuaolo Fruean, to advise the Senate to stop its investigations.

Our correspondent, Monica Miller, reports from Pago Pago.

"This was a major celebration. There were overseas dignatories and all the traditional chiefs as well as the public, all focussing on the celebrations. And the majority tend to feel that this shows that he is against the work of the Senate Investigative Committee. My personal feeling is that he didn't really think properly about the consequences and the repercussions of his statement. We have had chiefs that sometimes try to say something that they think is funny, in a public arena like this. Maybe it's OK for chiefs that don't have a judgeship but for him to make a comment like this, it was just shocking."