28 Apr 2005

Embattled American Samoa territorial auditor disputes negative review of his office

2:28 pm on 28 April 2005

American Samoa's Territorial Auditor, George Webster, has told Fono leaders that he is disputing a negative peer review of his office given by the Association of Pacific Island Auditors.

The review has been cited by Governor Togiola Tulafono as one of the reasons for terminating his contract.

But Mr Webster says in his view the review report omits the most glaring violation of Government Audit Standards - the lack of independence in the Territorial Audit Office.

Mr Webster has sent the Senate President and House Speaker letters, urging a thorough investigation into his removal and full disclosure to the public.

In his letters, Mr Webster says the audit office's lack of independence has been documented many times.

He says he has requested the government to assist him in strengthening the office's independence, and enforcement power, but has had no response.