31 Aug 2005

American Samoa's high risk designation for federal funds is to remain in place

2:13 pm on 31 August 2005

American Samoa has been told it will continue to be labelled a high risk destination for federal funds by the U.S. department of the Interior.

This follows a meeting attended by the governor, Togiola Tulafono, and other high level officials in which they attempted to persuade the department to lift the designation.

Our correspondent, Monica Miller, says the territory has been told that it is required to submit audits on time for two years in a row, and the budget will have to balance for two consecutive years.

Ms Miller says the budget has been balanced but the issue has been with the audits.

"When the auditors came around, it was really hard to find information that they were looking for to justify some of the figures that auditors were given. So, they need a lot of accountants, for example, and other financial type experts."

Ms Miller says Treasury has requested assistance from the U.S. department of the Interior so that more accountants can be hired.