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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.

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.

AG seeks $500 per month stipend for Immigration Board members

“…or such other amount…”

Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale is proposing to create a stipend for members of the  immigration board, and wants the stipend to be included in the American Samoa Administrative Code.
The current law only states that the board Immigration Board shall meet at times and places determined necessary by the chairman for conducting business of the board, but there is nothing pertaining to compensation or stipends offered.

Ombudsman says both police and father failed jailed boy

Ombudsman, Maiava Iulai Toma, has blamed both the Police and the father for contravening the rights of a three-year-old boy, recommending the demotion of the officers involved.

This was noted in a report he wrote following an inquiry his Office conducted into the detaining of the child, two weeks ago. A copy of the report has been obtained by the Sunday Samoan.

The inquiry was launched when a complaint was made by the boy’s parents - the father involved in the matter, Sauafea Tiava’asue and his wife Mareta, Maiava.

Amata urges U.S. House hearings on conservation zone

(BASED ON A PRESS RELEASE) — Aumua Amata has sent a letter to U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) urging him to hold early hearings on a bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL) to prevent President Obama or future presidents from unilaterally restricting usage of any additional vast areas of land or sea resources under the Antiquities Act of 1906.

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