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Three more cabinet posts introduced for fono vote

fili@samoanews.com

Three more cabinet-directors of the Lolo Administration were introduced this week in both the Senate and House and most of the confirmation hearings have already been scheduled.
 
PUBLIC DEFENDER
 
The governor has nominated Douglas Fiaui as the territory’s Public Defender, who also heads the Office of Public Defender, which represents the rights of indigent people accused of violating the law.
 
Prior to his current post, Fiaui served as legal counsel to the Governor’s Office for the last four years of the Togiola Administration and has been able to assist in shaping laws and policies that affect the administration of the criminal justice system in territory, said Lolo in his nomination letter to the Fono.
 
Fiaui’s other duties included providing counsel on extradition petitions to and from American Samoa and he also reviewed and recommended action on petitions made to the governor for clemency and executive pardons.
 
Fiaui had previously served as Assistant Public Defender where he handled numerous felony and misdemeanor cases "of every grade at all stages of the judicial process and he is well versed in the nuance of our local criminal laws,” the governor said.
 
A graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Fiaui is a member of the American Samoa Bar Association.
 
“I know that Mr. Fiaui will be a staunch advocate for the rights of indigent people accused of violating the law and that he will be a superb Public Defender,” the governor said.
 
Fiaui’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee is set for 8a.m. today and later today, at 11a.m. is his confirmation hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.
 
OFFICE OF PUBLIC INFORMATION
 
The governor has nominated Fagafaga Daniel Langkilde as director of Office of Public Information (KVZK) and his confirmation before the Senate Government Operations Committee is set for next week Tuesday at 9a.m.
 
After the nomination was introduced yesterday in the Senate, the committee chairman Sen. Galeai Tu’ufuli requested that the nominee provide by this Friday the financial reports pertaining to the 10th Festival of Pacific Arts, for which the cabinet-nominee was co-chair back in 2008.
 
Galeai said these reports have been pending too long and additional information is needed by the Senate for its review. He also requested a report on what happened to Malama TV, which was a privately owned company.
 
“If no reports are received by this Friday then there will be no hearing next week,” said Galeai. “The Senate wants to know everyone’s qualification for these cabinet posts. Senators are entitled to complete information about individuals, who will be taking over as bosses of these ASG offices and departments.”
 
The Senate Investigative Committee of the 32nd Legislature had probed spending of the government’s $20 million loan from the ASG Employees Retirement Fund, and among the projects funded with the loan was the Arts Festival, which was allocated $2.50 million but was overspent by $1.05 million.
 
Fagafaga, who was also the festival’s chief financial officer, gave lengthy testimony last September before the SIC, saying among other things that total expenditures of the festival were $3.5 million and that the festival committee did submit to the governor at the time, the complete financial reports.
 
Meanwhile, Fagafaga’s confirmation hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee is not yet scheduled.
 
In his nomination letter to the Fono, the governor says Fagafaga “possesses a wealth of experience which has contributed to his success in serving in different fields over the years, providing him the background and knowledge to head this agency.”
 
Fagafaga began his career in the media and public affairs 29 years ago, as general manager of then Radio Samoa- WVUV;  he was the first general manager of Bluesky Communications; and had served as president and CEO of locally based Malama Communications Inc., (Malama TV).
 
He is also a former House member, has served as chairman of board the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority and has been involved in many community service organizations and programs.
 
Lolo said he is confident that Fagafaga “will be very capable of developing” the Office of Public Information “into a service agency that will be very beneficial to our community.”
 
OPAD DIRECTOR
 
The governor has nominated Matautu Dr. Peter Tinitali as director of the Office of Protection and Advocacy for the Disabled (OPAD). His confirmation hearing before the House Government Operations Committee is set for 8:30 a.m. next week Tuesday and then next Wednesday at 9 a.m. he will go before the Senate Government Operations Committee.
 
According to the governor’s nomination letter to the Fono, Matautu holds a Doctorate in English and a Masters in English from the University of Hawai’i, and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Western Oregon State University.
 
For the past 39 years, Matautu has served with the Department of Education in the Special Education division and has taught many teachers how to work with special needs children.  He has a firm understanding of the challenges and needs of this segment of the population in our community, said Lolo.
 
As a teacher, trainer and administrator for programs and services for the disabled sector of the territory, Matautu “is well versed in programs which also address services which are available and should be utilized to protect the rights of these citizens,” the governor said.
 
“With his immense years of experience and the many years of working daily with these residents, I am certain that Matautu possesses the experience and knowledge that will make him an excellent director” for OPAD, he added.
 



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