8 Mar 2006

Counsel advises American Samoan senate against court action

7:25 am on 8 March 2006

A legal counsel for the American Samoan senate has advised it not to take legal action against the governor for spending U.S. congressional funds without seeking fono approval.

The senate considered legal action after discovering that governor Togiola Tulafono had spent all except 2.3 million U.S. dollars out of a ten million dollar appropriation without their knowledge.

But, senate counsel Roy Hall Junior says the legislation as worded does give the executive branch wide discretion to decide how the funds should be used if they're deemed to be for essential services.

He says however, the senate could contact the territory's Congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunken, and ask that in future any congressional appropriations include a clause that states that Fono approval is required before the funds are spent.