13 Apr 2011

Legal action looms in American Samoa lawmaker cheque row

3:11 pm on 13 April 2011

A senator in American Samoa says fono leaders may consider taking legal action if expense payments continue to be withheld from them.

Governor Togiola Tulafono appears to have withheld expense payments for 18 senators and 20 representatives as part of his ongoing battle to persuade lawmakers to increase taxes.

Senator Lualemaga Faoa says he has not received his allowance cheque for last week, and believes this is the case for other fono leaders.

He says they are legally entitled to the payments and he does not understand why the Governor would hold onto them

"Because the budget was already approved by the fono. Those allowances are included in our legislature budget, so I don't believe that the governor can hold on the issuing of the allowances."

Senator Faoa says the government's financial crisis does not justify the withholding of allowances.