The Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure in Samoa has defended the decision to award a $US1.3 million contract to a company owned by a fellow cabinet minister.
The contract to build a new airstrip on the eastern side of Upolu was awarded to Aldan Civil Engineering, a company operated by the son of the Associate Minister for the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Peseta Vaifou Tevaga.
The Minister of Works, Papali'i Niko Lee Hang, told the Samoa Observer, that the process for tendering of projects does not discriminate.
Papali'i said it was a fair process for contractors who are eligible to carry out the contract.
The Minister said suggestions of a conflict of interest in awarding the contract was "beside the point" as the company had the lowest bid and it was in the government's interest to save money.
He said Aldan Civil Engineering is eligible for the contract, they are cheaper than others, have the technical support and a proven record.