6 Feb 2014

Samoa chief auditor status defended

2:40 pm on 6 February 2014

Samoa's Prime Minister has defended last week's constitutional amendment to extend the chief auditor's term from three to 12 years.

Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi says the chief auditor will be responsible to parliament and not be influenced by the government of the day.

He says at the end of a 12-year term, there is no chance of a contract renewal and the office holder is prohibited from working in the public service.

In 1995, the Samoan government suspended the auditor general, Sua Rimoni Ah Chong, after he refused to authorise illegal payments to government ministers.

The government subsequently changed the constitution to get rid of Sua, whose appointment had been made for life akin to that of a judge.