INDEPENDENT PROSECUTOR FUNDING QUESTIONED
The $75,000 allocated in fiscal year 2014 for the Independent Prosecutor was yesterday questioned by Rep. Florence Saulo, who asked if such a funding is necessary and if the office itself is necessary. She also asked how many cases have been handled by this office so far this year.
Saulo’s inquiries were made during yesterday’s Fono joint budget hearing for the Department of Legal Affairs, which is overseen by Attorney General Afoa LS. Lutu, who responded that his tenure is new under the current administration and when he came into office there were cases settled from last year.
He also pointed out that the Independent Prosecutor is needed when there are instances of conflict of interest involving the Attorney General’s Office or any entity of the government. Additionally, this money is needed to pay an IP in the event that such a prosecutor is needed throughout FY 2014.
The IP is established by law and the court may also assign specific matters to the IP to handle.
Saulo further asked about the government’s plans to address the influx of Asian merchants into the territory and Afoa responded that the AG’s Office and the Immigration Office have plans in the works but he could not reveal details at this time. He indicated the government does not wish to make details public due to the fact that when it is time for action, the ones they are looking at are no longer there.
Responding to a committee question, Afoa said the Immigration Office needs to hire additional staff to carry out its work.
Besides the AG’s Office and Immigration, other divisions under Legal Affairs are the Territorial Registrars Office and Weights & Measures. The total department budget stands at $2.47 million, which is an increase compared to the current FY 2013 budget of $2.26 million.
TUALAUTA REP COMMENDS THE GOV FOR ADOPT-A-SCHOOL-PROGRAM
Tualauta District residents commend Governor Lolo Moliga for his leadership and vision in planning, developing and implementing the Adopt-a-School Program. Through this program, many necessary issues regarding the health of our children and necessary preparations for the coming school year are now being addressed. This was according to a letter Tualauta Rep Florence Vaili Saulo sent to the governor. She noted that, as home to many public and private schools that serve thousands of students in the Territory, Tualauta District is very pleased with this initiative.
Saulo then pointed out hope that with this renewed focus on the unsanitary and dilapidated conditions in the schools, comes the much needed resources in order to deal with these ongoing issues.
The Tualauta faipule also reminded the governor that she recently submitted the list of materials that were priced from ACE Hardware in order to start the Kokoland and Faleniu Road Projects, for which the governor agreed that he would render assistance.
Rep Saulo wrote that she stands ready to assist in anyway the government in its Adopt A School initiative as well as on road projects.
SANITOA COMMENDS DPW/ Mc CONNELL DOWELL FOR FIXING POTHOLES
Rep Larry Sanitoa last week, in a letter last week commended the Department of Public Works and McConnell Dowell for patching of the roads in the most traveled part of the Island.
Sanitoa noted the recent temporary improvements by McConnell Dowell to some of the most dangerous areas of the road are very much appreciated by Tualauta residents and motorists. He also commended DPW and their exceptional team at the Highway Division for the completed resurfacing work on the remaining problem section of the Fagaima Road. Several residents have called to express their sincere appreciation of the improvements to this section of the road, he wrote.
In addition, they have also expressed gratitude to Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga and the Lieutenant Governor, Lemanu Peleti Mauga for their ongoing commitment and leadership in making infrastructure improvements a high priority.
He pointed out to Faleosina Voight that he was pleased to learn that work will be starting up for the next phase of the 3R Projects — specifically the hot mix patching work on the Iliili Rd, and the installation of additional Soakage Pits to address the drainage problems by Cost U Less and other sections of the Ottoville Rd. Fa’afetai tele lava Sanitoa said and asked the DPW Director to consider his previous request, to look into adding a small section of the Vaitogi Rd on the revised 3R Project list.
He also thanked Faleosina for her testimony in their recent budget hearing, reassuring the Fono that they are looking at a reclassification proposal to address the pay scale for the skilled workers and maintenance crew that are only making just above minimum wages at DPW.
Finally, Sanitoa sought for DPW to provide a status update on the existing plan to address the Ottoville drainage by the LDS church and the Hope House road, which he called a most exasperating and frustrating problem.
Samoa News reporter Fili Sagapolutele contributed to this report.
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