10 Feb 2006

American Samoa senators set to pass land lease bill

9:17 am on 10 February 2006

American Samoa senators are today expected to pass a bill which would require every lease of government land and property of a year or longer to be approved by the Fono.

Present law requires the governor to submit only leases that are 10 years and longer to the Fono for approval.

Senate President Lolo Letalu Moliga introduced the bill last month following a differences of opinion with the administration over the McDonald's lease of Utulei Beach, a matter that is now in litigation.

Yesterday senators approved the bill in second reading with amendments.

A provision has been added stating that if the lessee fails to use the Government-leased land continuously for two years for the specific purpose stated in the lease or subleases the land to another, the land shall revert back to the government.

Meanwhile a motion by the government and the owners of McDonald's American Samoa to dismiss the Senate's challenge of the Utulei Beach lease is set for this morning before Chief Justice Michael Kruse.