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SEN. LUALEMAGA TO CHAIR SENATE INVESTIGATING COMMITTEE (SIC)

Senate President Gaoteote Palaie Tofau has appointed the seven-member Senate Investigating Committee (SIC), to be chaired by Sen. Lualemaga E. Faoa, who had chaired the previous Senate investigative committee more than six years ago.

According to Senate Resolution (S.R. 14) approved Feb. 21 to set up the new SIC, Gaoteote also appointed Sen. Velega Savali Jr. as the vice chairman, and other members are Sens. Fuata Dr. Tagiilima Iatala, Malepeai Setu, Fuamatu J.V. Fuamatu, Paogofie Fiaigoa and Mauga T. Asuega.

“I have the utmost confidence that these honorable senators will capably perform the duties required of them and successfully accomplish the mandates of S.R. 32-14,” wrote Gaoteote in a Feb. 25 memo to the Senate membership about the appointment. He called on everyone’s support for the committee, with a copy of the letter to House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale.

The measure that establishes the investigative panel calls for the SIC to be in place for the 32nd Legislature and authorizes it to hold and continue its proceedings and hearings during the regular sessions, any special sessions, and any recess or interim periods of the 32nd Legislature, continuing until 12noon of Jan. 3, 2013 (which is when the 32nd Legislature officially ends).

It’s not immediately clear as to which issues the SIC will target first, or when the first investigative hearing will convene. Senators, who are not members of the committee, can attend, if permitted by a majority vote of SIC members in attendance.

S.R. 32-14 calls for the committee to review and investigate the operations of the government and the activities with all ASG departments, offices, agencies, boards and commissions including the ASG Employees Retirement Fund and the Development Bank of American Samoa for compliance with applicable constitutional, statutory, and regulatory requirements, and effectiveness of management, practices and procedures.

SIC will conduct hearings, issue subpoenas to witnesses and also subpoena government records, files and documents as needed for their hearings.

HOUSE APPROVES GOVERNOR’S $100,000 APPROPRIATION BILL

In a vote of 12-6, the House yesterday approved in final reading an administration bill seeking $50,000 each for the Samoa Bowl Committee and the Office of Samoan Affairs. The measure, which now goes to the Senate for consideration, is funded with the estimated general fund revenues for fiscal year 2012, which are available as a result of the governor’s line-item veto action in the FY 2012 budget bill.

According to the measure, $50,000 for the Samoa Bowl Committee is to assist with providing transportation and accommodations for the American Samoa National Under 19 Football Team for two off-island tournaments and the other $50,000 for Samoan Affairs, is to complete the Samoan traditional ‘Faletele’ on Utulei Beach.

The Under-19 Team returned yesterday from Australia and their second trip will be to Texas in June.

The Senate has yet to vote on the bill.



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