16 Nov 2010

American Samoa on aid spending watch

4:06 pm on 16 November 2010

The government of American Samoa might face stringent restrictions over how it handles federal aid to assist with recovery after the earthquake and tsunami.

The Office of the Inspector General at the US Department of Homeland Security has recommended the Federal Emergency Management Agency designate American Samoa as a high risk recipient.

The report by the Office of the Inspector General points to past poor record keeping and suggestions that funds have been used for purposes not originally intended.

Our correspondent in Pago Pago, Fili Sagapolutele, says the emergency management agency could watch over the use of up to US$92 million in aid money very closely :

"The FEMA will have a lot of oversight on this issue, telling the territorial government that they should be spending in accordance with the policies and regulations they've laid out and those specific policies must be followed to the 't'."

Fili Sagapolutele says the report from Inspector General's Office does not suggest misappropriation of funds, rather that money is used to make up shortfalls in local revenue.