24 Feb 2012

American Samoa lawmakers call for witnesses on hospital bill to show up

8:07 am on 24 February 2012

Lawmakers in American Samoa are disappointed over the absence of government witnesses at a House committee yesterday regarding the Togiola Administration's $8 million loan for the LBJ Medical Center.

The loan from the ASG Employees Retirement Fund is to be repaid with a percentage of a hike in excise tax for alcohol, beer and tobacco; an increase in fees for business licenses and the new corporate tax.

The only witness who showed up at the hearing was Tax Office manager Melvin Joseph while the main witnesses, the government treasurer Magalei Logovi'i and the two top officials with the Retirement Fund did not.

House member Tapumanaia Galu Satele Jr. informed colleagues that there are just two more weeks left in the current legislative session to address this matter and he would prefer the governor not call a special session for this issue when the Fono goes into recess.

House member Va'amua Henry Sesepasara said the Fono keeps hearing the governor complaining about the delay in getting bills through the Fono, but while the House works on an important administration request no witnesses are available.

The committee agreed to send an official letter of complaint to the governor's office regarding the lack of government witnesses to testify.