17 Sep 2004

Development Bank of American Samoa still facing audit

3:24 pm on 17 September 2004

The Territorial Audit Office will soon be returning to the Development Bank of American Samoa to carry out its planned audit of the bank.

The Territorial Auditor, George Webster, says he has had an initial meeting with Acting Bank President, Utu Abe Malae, and Utu supports the audit.

Mr Webster had been told by the former acting bank president, Suli Sopoaga, to delay the audit until after the elections in November.

But Mr Webster says this would violate the office's independence as required by government auditing standards.

The Development Bank audit is to determine whether the bank processes loan applications in a fair and impartial manner, if it employs aggressive collection practices, if its loan loss reserve is adequate, and if the bank is financially viable.

Investigations by the Senate Select Investigative Committee uncovered up to 6 million US dollars worth of home and business loans made out to former and present bank employees and officers.