8 Jul 2006

Lawsuit filed against American Samoa's governor

9:05 am on 8 July 2006

The American Samoa Senate has filed a lawsuit against the Governor, Togiola Tulafono.

Samoa News reports that the lawsuit challenges the governor's line-item veto power and how the governor used this authority to strike a conditional provision giving 1.7 million US dollars to the LBJ hospital under a 10 million US dollar loan that was signed into law in April.

A provision in the loan bill calls for the 1.7 million to cover hospital operations under the condition that the hospital cancels the new fee increases they implemented on Nov. 1, 2005.

If the hospital doesn't rescind the fees, the provision calls for the $1.7 million to go back to the Fono for reappropriation.

However, the governor deleted this provision, telling the Fono that fees are necessary for the hospital to survive into the future.

With the deletion of this provision, the 1.7 million went to the hospital operation.

However, the Senate contends that because the hospital loan bill was not an appropriations bill, the Governor had no authority to make any changes to the bill through the line item veto.