8 May 2013

American Samoan matai banned after questioning spending

3:29 pm on 8 May 2013

A former lawmaker in American Samoa, who has been banned from his village, plans to take court action against his paramount chief.

The village council of Vailoatai has agreed to ban the high talking chief, Vailopa Lopa Seti, and strip him of his title, Vailopa.

The move comes after he asked the paramount chief, Satele Galu Satele Senior, to explain how 20 thousand US dollars of public funds intended for the village's trip to attend Samoa's 50th anniversary celebrations, had been spent.

Vailopa Seti says he refuses to move out of the village or drop his title, unless ordered to do so by the courts.

He says he can't understand the reaction of other village leaders.

"In our culture, the reason to ban a high talking chief or a paramount chief is when you kill somebody or rape a girl, or whatever, but this kind of reason is senseless."

Vailopa Seti says he simply wanted everyone to see how the public money had been spent.