Local News

Pay hikes for top officials, office allowance raises automatically rejected as special session ends


The two bills — one to increase by $10,000 across the board the office allowance of all Fono members and another to hike the annual salaries of the governor and lieutenant governor — have been automatically rejected since the Special Session ended yesterday with the measures failing to be be presented to the floor to be voted on by the House.

Suleman family hires private firm to continue search for father’s remains


The Suleman family has contracted Global Diving & Salvage, a diving company, to continue the search for the body of Babar Suleman, who was killed with his son, Haris, when their Beech aircraft crashed into the ocean just off of Pago Pago International Airport on July 23, 2014. The body of Haris was recovered soon after the crash, however the body of the father was never found.
A three-man diving team arrived in the territory last Friday night, says Director of Homeland Security, Utuali’i Iuniasolua Savusa.

Samoan woman who pled guilty to passport fraud sentenced in Alaska


A Samoan woman who pled guilty to passport fraud at the federal court in Fairbanks, Alaska for using an American Samoa birth certificate to — among other things — obtain a U.S. passport, has been sentenced to probation and ordered to pay more than $30,000 in restitution.
Maualuga Leaana, aka, Sialei Leaana was initially charged at the federal court in Fairbanks with one count of passport fraud, nine counts of false claims of being a U.S. citizen and one count of aggravated identify theft.

Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act signed into law


Lt Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga — as Acting Governor — signed into law on Friday the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). Lemanu pointed out in his letter to lawmakers that this is an important piece of legislation, and expressed his appreciation to the Fono for passing this measure.
SORNA closes potential gaps and loopholes that existed under prior laws and generally strengthens the nationwide network of the sex offender registration and notification program, he noted.

Attorney General proposes increase in immigration fees


Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale is proposing to increase current fees for certain immigration services through the American Samoa Administrative Code process, and the public has until Oct. 27 to comment on the amendments.
Talauega is also seeking to increase the immigration bond for citizens of certain countries and this new hike will be effective next month. The new proposed bond hike does not include Samoa, Tonga or the Philippines, as bonds for these three countries will remain the same.

Community Briefs


November is right around the corner, and with it comes the Samoana Jazz and Arts Festival 2014 — which will occur for the first time in both Samoas.


Talofa lava! I’m so happy to be back on board my mothership Gaualofa after joining up with her and the rest of the crew in Fiji. Gaualofa is still so graceful and strong. This time around I am sailing with crew members hailing from Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji.
Many moons ago these island nations were at war with each other over land and sea. Today we unite on Gaualofa as a voice for the Pacific along with Marumaru Atua of the Cook Islands and Uto Ni Yalo of Fiji.

Utu says La O Samoa is interested in working with ASPA, talks still on going


American Samoa Power Authority, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Utu Abe Malae confirms that Help U Solar LLC — a company based in Hawai’i — which has a division office on island called La O Samoa, is interested in working with ASPA on a distributed generation project. He notes that discussions are in first stages only, it needs to go through a procurement process, after the project is “defined and understood.”

Commish: “The hammer will fall where it needs to fall”

Re: Off-duty cops involved in nightclub scuffle

“The hammer will fall where it needs to fall,” said Commissioner of Public Safety William Bill Haleck in response to Samoa News questions on the status of the case involving two off- duty detectives who are with the Criminal Investigation Division, over an incident which occurred Saturday night. As a result of the incident, a night club in Pago Pago was damaged, but no one was arrested.

Governor Lolo urges ASEDA to make charter bank a priority


Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has relayed to the American Samoa Economic Development Authority board the importance of setting up a Charter Bank in the territory as a priority because of its impact on economic development.
Lolo has sought another financial institution for the territory since taking over the helm of government in January last year, because Bank of Hawai’i is leaving as soon as a second bank is operational here.

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