15 Oct 2010

Samoa paper keeps doubting government's tsunami relief figures

1:49 pm on 15 October 2010

A newspaper in Samoa is maintaining that the expenditure of tsunami relief funds has not been accounted for.

The Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has attacked the Samoa Observer's coverage of the tsunami recovery, saying the paper shows whatever the government does in a bad light.

The Samoan government is also considering complaining to the New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority about a TV3 story which questioned the whereabouts of millions of dollars of tsunami relief funds.

But the editor of the Samoa Observer, Mataafa Keni Lesa, says his paper has had an accountant examine the figures and they don't add up

"If you really take a closer look at the report it doesn't quite say where the money has gone to and it doesn't account for a lot of money. It gets especially hard when you go out to the villages where these people live and you look at the conditions they're living in, you know for example in terms of water, shelters and just the life they're living. You think with all that money, they'd be a little bit better off but they're not, they're really struggling."

Mataafa Keni Lesa says he acknowledges the government has done a lot of good work in the tsunami recovery.