7 Jul 2020

Protest against spending of Covid-19 funds in American Samoa

8:57 pm on 7 July 2020

Protesters in American Samoa have voiced their concern about the government's use of federal Covid-19 funds.

The US government has provided US$35.1 million for the territory's coronavirus prevention and relief efforts.

But the protesters say the Senate President and the Speaker of the House are each getting US$20,000 cheques, while senators and representatives are getting US$10,000.

The protest organiser, Aitofi Solipo, said the funds were being misused.

"So that's why we are protesting, there's a lot going on with the funds from the Federal (government) but there's a lot of misuse of funds from our government. These are some of the stuff we are protesting about. It is time we stop this corruption," she said.

Ms Solipo said one of their goals was to report the spending of the Covid 19 funds to the feds, and this process has been initiated.

A statement from the Governor's Office at the time the grant was awarded said the funds would go towards costs incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic.

And that they would also be used to cover costs not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020 and were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020 and ending on December 30, 2020.