25 Feb 2005

US department of Interior to investigate Development Bank of American Samoa

8:37 am on 25 February 2005

The US Department of Interior's Office of Inspector General will carry out an audit of the Development Bank of American Samoa.

The bank's chief executive officer, Utu Abe Malae, says next month's audit isn't an investigative one.

The audit, however, follows extensive local media coverage of the bank, showing favoritism towards ranking government officials and their families plus board members, their families and bank employees.

Utu says the federal auditors will conduct an audit of the bank's affairs, from 1999 to 2004 with the intention of coming up with ways to improve operations and the audit will also concentrate on loan portfolios.

Utu insists that the audit isn't an investigation by the US Government but says if something turns up that requires additional probe, proper arrangements will be made.

He says the federal audit will be carried out alongside the local audit by the Territorial Audit Office.

Utu says the last time a federal audit was conduct was in 1988.