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House expense report: names from Senate reappear

reporters@samoanews.com

Between October 2012 and February 28, 2013 the House of Representatives spent a total of just over $1MIL on expenses, according to the House Expense Report obtained by Samoa News. Like the Senate Expense Report, it shows certain expenses paid out under categories that do not relate to the expense, and in some cases expenses were paid out to the same individuals and companies that also appear in the Senate Expense Report, for the same type of service.
 
In review of the House Expense Report, Samoa News found the method of reporting expenses is similar to the Senate Expense Report — with very little detail of how the expense related to Fono business.
 
SAME NAMES, COMPANIES
 
Former prison warden Mika Kelemete Jr. is listed as being paid from the House ($1056 every two weeks) — and he is receiving the same amount of payments bi-weekly from the Senate side. Added with the Senate numbers, Kelemete will be receiving an annual salary of over $56,000, not including travel perks. He is paid under the “Other Employee Benefits” category.
 
For gas expenses, the House method of payment is the same as the Senate: they do not use coupons for gas at the local Motor Pool station in Tafuna. Instead, it pays the vendor directly, which in this case is to the A&T Service Station in Nu’uuli, the same one used by the Senate. The company is listed in the House “Operating Supplies” for $2,000 on Dec. 12, 2012, while the Senate gas bill is considerably larger with payments to the service station from different categories for a total of $19,200 over a period of 4 months.
 
(Samoa News understands the Fono method of payment for gas is not new, and when the same gas service station was leased by the Stevenson Family from the Tuia Family, it also benefited from the selfsame Fono method of paying for gas.)
 
Solia Fofoga (who according to Fono sources works in the Legislative Finance Office) also appears in the House expense report, and like the Senate expense report, he is found under the “Food for Human Consumption” category and the “Protocol Expenses” category. Samoa News was told that Fofoga is the ‘go to’ guy for both chambers, when special events are arranged — food and protocol.
 
Another company appearing in both expense reports is PT & Associates, the company co-owned by the Governor’s Executive Assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira and Governor’s Office employee Minnie Tuia. For the House, the company received two payments under “Repairs and Maintenance”, $4,000 each, on Oct. 23 and Dec. 21, respectively. It also accounted for the entire $12,000 listed under the House’s “Other Contractual Services” expenses which included three payments of $4,000 each on Oct. 2, Nov. 27, and Feb. 7. They are also recorded as receiving $4,000 per month from the Senate. That’s a total of $8,000 per month — to date — from the Fono altogether.
 
Mabuhay Travel again features largely in travel payments in the House expense report, as it does in the Senate report.
 
TRAVEL
 
House travel expenses, as in Senate travel, is dispersed throughout the report’s categories, with some having no apparent relationship to the category it is listed under.
 
For example, three payments for “airfare” were drawn from the “Other Employee Benefits,” category and paid to Mabuhay Travel. The airfares were for Rep. Fetu Fetui Jr. on October 19 in the amount of $1,527.60; airfare for “Seui, H.” on December 4 for $176; and “airfare for Faa” on January 17 for  $2,281.40.
 
While the Protocol Expenses category reported that on Dec. 18, Mabuhay Travel was paid $566.20 for “amended airfare”.
 
 In the “Repairs and Maintenance” category, airfare and per diems are noted for Rep. Puletu Dick Koko, who received $2,040 for per diem in Honolulu and $165 for airfare on Dec. 03, and House Secretary Fialupe Lutu received $1,568 for per diem in Honolulu, and the House paid her airfare of $1,524 on Dec. 18.
 
The same category also lists another payment of $2,000 to Mabuhay Travel on Feb. 28, with no indication of who or what.
 
The House’s “Food for Human Consumption” category — like the Senate — was used to report travel expenses, including per diem and transport rentals, for staff and faipule:
 
Dec. 14 - Taliva’a Aliti - Four payments totaling $1,645 for per diem in Honolulu, Hilo, Tacoma and land transportation
 
Dec. 20 -  Mabuhay Travel “airfare for Aliti” $2,390.80
 
Dec. 17 -  Kolone, Liuato - Three payments totaling $1,253 for per diem in Honolulu, Los Angeles, and land transportation
 
Dec. 18 - Leasiolagi, Steve $1,817 for per diem in Honolulu and land transportation
 
Dec. 20 - Fetu Fetui Jr. $2,230 for per diem, land transportation, and airfare to Apia
 
Dec. 26 - Rep. Puletu Dick Koko $1,593 for per diem and land transportation in Honolulu
 
Dec. 28 - Mabuhay Travel - airfare for Steve Leasiolagi $1,458.40 and Liuato Kolone $2,173.40
 
Dec. 31 -  Mabuhay Travel $1,458.40 - airfare for Rep. Puletu Dick Koko
 
Jan. 17 -  Talia Faafetai Iaulualo - Three payments totaling $1,925 for per diem in Honolulu, Los Angeles, and land transportation
 
Jan. 29 - Lealaitafea, Fagasoaia - Three payments totaling $1,389 for per diem in Honolulu, Los Angeles, and land transportation
 
Jan. 30 - House Speaker Savali Talavou - Four payments totaling $7,260 for per diem in Honolulu, Los Angeles, a car rental, and “protocol”
 
Feb. 05 - Mika Kelemete Jr. $2,240 for per diem in Honolulu
 
Feb. 06 - Lealaitafea Fagasoaia, Fetu Fetui Jr., Talia Faafetai Iaulualo, Mauga Legae’e, Su’a Elisara, Allen Anthony Faimealelei, Moliga Tuumolimoli, Anoa’i Tusipa, Saulo Vaili Florence, Lam Yuen Tini, Puletu Dick Koko, and Atualevao Gafatasi Afalava - $1,120 each for per diem in Honolulu
 
Feb. 06 - Mabuhay Travel $2,239.40 for “airfare for Foa”
 
Feb. 11 - Michael Yandall $2,240 per diem in Honolulu
 
Feb. 15 - Puletu Dick Koko $573 per diem and airfare reimbursement to Apia
 
Feb. 19 - Mabuhay Travel - Three airfares totaling $4,594.65
 
The “Off Island Travel” category between Oct. 01 and Dec. 18 totaled $48,922.58 and the following was paid out:
 
Oct. 03 - House Speaker Savali Talavou $6,340 in three payments for protocol, per diem and land transportation in Honolulu
 
Oct. 05 - Rep. Fetu Fetui Jr., $2,265 for “lodging and meal, and land transportation”
 
Oct. 17 - Mabuhay Travel $2,806.09 airfare for House Speaker Talavou
 
Oct. 17 - Rep. Tufele, Li’amatua Pulelei’ite Jr. $2,265 for per diem and land transportation to Honolulu
 
Oct. 25 - Puletu Dick Koko $2,042 for per diem in Apia and New Zealand
 
Oct. 31 - Lemapu Talo $2,430 -  three payments for per diem, land transportation and airfare in Apia
 
Nov. 08 -  Faimealelei Anthony Allen $4,267 - four payments for per diem in Honolulu, Saipan, Texas and land transportation
 
Nov. 13 - Simei Pulu $2,759 for per diem in Honolulu, Los Angeles, and San Francisco
 
Nov. 19 - Larry Sanitoa $1,593 for per diem and land transportation in Honolulu
 
Nov. 26 - Lemapu Talo $1,869 for per diem in Denver, Honolulu, and land transportation
 
Nov. 27 - Fetu Fetui Jr. $2,205 for per diem and airfare for Apia
 
Nov. 27 - Puletu Dick Koko $2,205 for per diem and airfare for Apia
 
Nov. 27 - Mika Kelemete Jr. $2,240 for per diem in Honolulu
 
Nov. 27 - Rep. Tuumolimoli Moliga $1,900 for per diem in Honolulu and Los Angeles
 
Nov. 27 - Mabuhay Travel $2,807.99 for airfare for Lemapu Talo
 
Nov. 28 - Mabuhay Travel $1,287.30 airfare for Puletu Dick Koko
 
Dec. 03 - House Speaker Savali Talavou $1,792 for per diem in Honolulu and $700 for car rental
 
Dec. 04 - Mabuhay Travel $2,909 airfare for Tuumolimoli Moliga
 
Dec. 18 - Mabuhay Travel $2,240.20 airfare for House Speaker Talavou
 
“Manu’a Local Travel” totaled $645 and issued to Vice Speaker Talia Faafetai I’aulualo on Oct. 19 for per diem and airfare to Ta’u.
 
FONO BUDGET TOTAL
 
Between Oct. 2012 and Feb. 28, 2013, the total expenses for the House of Representatives was $1,069,016.17, while the Senate outlay was for $1, 277,586.45, for a Grand Total of $2, 346,602.62 for both chambers.
 
The Fono has an approved budget of $6.2 million for fiscal year 2013.  Based on First Quarter Performance Report from the ASG Treasury Department, the Legislature is projected to have an overrun of $1.5 million in 2013. 
 
As previously reported in Samoa News, the Fono has already overrun their first quarter budget by almost $400,000. But recently, an approved supplemental budget gave $500,000 back to the Fono‘s budget.
 
In an aside, former Pago Pago faipule Ae Ae Jr. got a payment of  $13,867.92 on February 5th, under the “Other Employee Benefits” category. Samoa News was told his role is one of consultancy, but this could not be confirmed as of press time.
 



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