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Gov directs audit of all ASG accounts despite lack of a CPA

Tofa Sualauvi H. Su’a
He and LT “firmly committed to full transparency”

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Through an Oct. 8th memorandum, Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga informed cabinet members that he has directed the ASG Territorial Audit Office “to audit all American Samoa Government accounts, records and books.”

He points out that the Territorial Auditor is mandated by law to conduct audits of all ASG departments and agencies. The governor didn’t specify any reason behind the directive for the audits but the Territorial Audit Office had conducted audits of certain ASG agencies and departments at the early start of the Lemamu/ Talauega Administration.

In his memo, the governor directed cabinet members to provide to the Territorial Audit Office “your full support and cooperation in order to carry out their responsibilities.”

He said he and Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo V. Ale “remain firmly committed to full transparency in our government” and looks “forward to seeing everyone work collaboratively” with the Acting Territorial Auditor and his staff “to help us identify areas of improvement in our financial management.”

Under local law, the Territorial Auditor must be a person experienced and competent in government auditing, financial management, or government operations and budgeting. And the Territorial Auditor must be either a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).

Last month the Senate rejected the House version of an Administration bill, which seeks to amend local law by removing the requirement that the Territorial Auditor — who heads the ASG independent Territorial Audit Office — be a certified public accountant (CPA), or a certified internal auditor holding a current certificate from any state of the U.S. The Senate already rejected its version of the bill in July.

As previously reported by Samoa News, the governor appointed Tofa Sualauvi H. Su’a as acting Territorial Auditor for this office and he remains in the post.

The fiscal year 2022 supplemental budget includes $150,000 for the Territorial Audit Office to pay a salary and related personnel expenses for a Territorial Auditor or Territorial Office staff.

The Governor’s Chief of Staff, Tuimavave Tauapa’i Laupola told a joint Fono hearing on the supplemental bill, that the funds are to hire a qualified and experienced CPA and also to further improve functions of this office for the audit of ASG agencies.