Pacific News Briefs
ASTCA SEEKS SECOND LOAN FROM RETIREMENT FUND
The American Samoa Telecommunications Authority is in the process of obtaining a second loan from the American Samoa Government Employees Retirement Fund, according to the Executive Director of the Retirement Fund, Iaulualo Talia Faafetai, responding to KHJ News questions last week, Wednesday.
He said the Retirement Fund Board has discussed the loan request however no decision has been made. Asked about the amount of the loan, Iaulualo said there are varying loan amounts for various stages of projects that ASTCA is planning, relating to undersea fiber optic infrastructure.
Meanwhile on Thursday, the House Communications Committee, chaired by Rep Vailoata Amituanai questioned the Executive Director of ASTCA, Puleleiite Tufele Li’amatua Jr, about ASTCA operations.
In response to questions from the Committee Chairman, the director said there‘s a balance of $3.2 million left on a $4.7 million loan that ASTCA obtained from the Retirement Fund last year.
Puleleiite said ASTCA’s loan payments are good.
When the chairman asked about plans for another loan, the ASTCA boss said in the second week of October, ASTCA is completing a loan application to the Rural Utilities Service to carry out critical projects.
These include upgrading the mobile phone network, connecting to the Hawaiki Cable as well as Samoa’s Tui Samoa Cable temporarily.
Chairman Vailoata Amituana’i advised Puleleiite to be cautious regarding the role of Aoe'e Adolfo Montenegro, who is the governor’s consultant for telecommunications. He said there may be legal ramifications for ASTCA, given that Aoe'e is involved in litigation.
Another issue that Amituanai asked Puleleiite to clarify is why ASTCA is not receiving any dividends from the $9 million that the government invested in the American Samoa Hawaii Cable.
Puleleiite said he predicts dividends will be paid and a firm answer on this matter should come from Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga.
CEO HITS BACK AT ‘ILLEGAL LEAKING’
Samoa’s Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration, C.E.O. Papali’i John Afele Taimalelagi has defended the Court’s process of petitions which are filed with the Judiciary.
This follows concerns expressed by a group from the Malietoa family who called on the President of the Land and Titles Court, Fepuleai Ropati Atilla, to investigate alleged “illegal leaking” of a petition in what they said is a sensitive matter.
The call on the President was highlighted in a letter obtained by the Sunday Samoan.
Dated 25 September 2017, the letter was signed by Papali’i Titiuatoa Malietoa, Papali’i Ioane Malietoa and Papali’i Malietau Malietoa and the official stamp of the Court acknowledging receipt was clearly visible.
Their petition, they had said, should not have ended up with another party before it was publicized in the ‘Savali’.
However in a response from the M.J.C.A. Chief Executive Officer, Papali’i flatly denied their assertion that the document had been illegally leaked and further, explained the process.
However first, the M.J.C.A. Chief Executive Officer made it clear that he had declared his conflict of interest with the “issue at hand” due to his familial ties.
“I am responding in my capacity as the C.E.O. specifically targeting the Petition Process, nothing more.
“This is the process.
“Once a petition is filed and signed, then the parties, swear an oath in front of the Deputy Registrar or Registrar.
“Once the fee is paid, it becomes a legal document of the court.
“Then the matter is handled by the Mediation and Registrations Division. They schedule a date for mediation for all the parties and at the same time, the petition is passed over, to the Lands and Titles court.
“It’s from there summons letters are issued to the other parties or respondents.
“The summons letters inform them of the petition and a copy of the petition will be attached with the summons letters.
“Also in the summons letters, are basic instructions of when the matter is scheduled to be held at the Court.
“At the same time, the petition is being prepared to be sent over to the ‘Savali’ for publication.
“The petitions are not confidential documents,” said Papali’i. “The petitions are given to the respondents or interested parties as they are entitled to have copies.
“The statute requires that the petitions are given to all parties of the petition and as well, it’s a must to be advertised in the ‘Savali’,” explained Papali’i.