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15 drums of fuel missing in Manu’a — investigation “inconclusive”

Manu'a faipule believes it’s ASPA employees, not Manu’a people

(This is a corrected article to reflect comments in the original version of this article were inadvertently attributed to Rep. Titialii Kitara Vaiau rather than Rep. Tiaoalii Fau Sai.  We have amended the article to reflect the proper attribution. We apologize to Rep Sai and to our readers for this inadvertent error.)

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The House of Representatives started off their week by conducting a hearing with the American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA), on Monday, March 27, 2023, to address issues affecting the residents of American Samoa — one in particular is the reported missing 15 drums of fuel that were delivered to Manu’a to power the electricity.

(Samoa News understands each drum equals 55 gallons of fuel, but was unable to confirm this as of press time.)

Summoned to testify on behalf of ASPA was Mr. Fidel Abula, ASPA water manager, Mr. Rudolph Partley, Manager of Transmission & Distribution, and Mr. Wallon Young, Chief Executive Officer for ASPA.

ASPA Committee chair Titiali'i Kitara Vaiau – Saole representative presided over the hearing.

According to CEO Young, “An investigation and a hearing was conducted within ASPA regarding the unaccounted 15 drums of fuel, and the investigation unfortunately yielded inconclusive results.

“It has been alleged that the drums were removed, but they did not acquire enough physical evidence to execute who was responsible for the unaccounted fuel,” he said.

In addition, Young also stated, “They are keeping a tight control on the fuel, and that it has been a long time since they have experienced a situation where fuel went missing.”

He also acknowledged that the total drums of missing fuel is significant, but they unfortunately could not determine who is responsible for the unaccounted fuel.

Rep. Tiaoalii wanted to address the issue of the missing fuel and get to the bottom of it because he does not want the blame to fall on himself and other representatives of Manu’a, as well as on the people of Manu’a.

Tiaoalii believes that it is either ASPA employees who were involved in moving the drums from the port onto the ferry delivering the fuel to Manu’a — or ASPA employees who were overseeing the transporting of the fuel supply via ferry to Manu’a.

Tiaoalii noted that the House of Representatives doesn’t want to point fingers or accuse anyone of stealing without concrete evidence, but it is ridiculous that 15 drums can go missing in Manu’a of all places, especially considering how small of an island it is.

In addition to expressing their concerns and frustrations, Tiaoalii suggested, on behalf of his colleagues, that specific ASPA personnel should be assigned to overlook the designation and transportation of such large quantities of gasoline, and that the assigned personnel should also be the ones to sign off on logistical matters of delivering large quantities of fuel to Manu’a.

They should further provide accountability by having a paper trail — so they can keep track of the fuel sent to Manu’a and prevent situations like this from occurring in the foreseeable future.