16 Aug 2010

Continuing arguments about government funding in American Samoa

11:15 am on 16 August 2010

There are claims in American Samoa that the Treasurer is talking about lack of money for pay in retaliation for questions over funding of the heritage week just held in Hawaii.

The treasurer, Magalei Logovii, last week informed the Senate President and Speaker of the House that only one payroll would be covered with funds remaining in the Fono budget.

But the chairman of the House and Budget and Appropriations committee Representative, Vaiausia Yandall said government overspending has been going on for years and questions the timing of the Treasurer's letter to the fono leaders.

Vaiausia said the executive branch has been moving funds from one department to another to cover overruns.

For example he said there was a US$1 million overspend in the 2008 Arts Festival budget and there was also an overrun in last year's Samoan Heritage week celebration.

He said up to now the administration has not submitted a final report on the Arts Festival spending, despite repeated requests from the House.

The Leone faipule, or leader, said the Treasurer should address the long standing deficiencies in the government's financial and accounting systems.