Lt. Gov sets the record straight on staff member
Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga has moved to “set the record straight” about alleged “unauthorized actions” by his assistant Solialealofiotagaloa Mutini relating to two pallets of cement shipped to Manu’a, a number of missing umbrellas and several 24-hour vehicle passes, which Mutini signed.
The allegations were cited in a Samoa News story published Wednesday based on an Aug. 28 letter from the governor’s chief of staff Fiu Johnny Saelua to Mutini regarding the cement pallets and umbrellas. The information on the vehicle passes was received by Samoa News through other sources familiar with this particular matter.
In a letter/statement to Samoa News, the lieutenant governor said he applauded Fiu and the governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira for taking action to determine the facts regarding “questionable acts…” by Mutini.
However, “I don’t approve nor appreciate the unprofessional handling of this sensitive matter,” Lemanu said and noted such “internal memorandum of personnel action” should have been “kept confidential until such time that the facts are known, and actions are taken to solidify the situation.”
“These incompetent smear actions by the chief of staff and executive assistant compel me to set the record straight and hopefully regain the trust of the public, village council of Chiefs of Faleasao and Manu’a, and families and friends of Solialealofiotagaloa, who is truly a servant of our people,” Lemanu said.
The following is the explanation from Lemanu of Solialealofiotagaloa’s alleged questionable acts, as stated in the letter to Samoa News.
PALLETS OF CEMENT
The Lt. Governor, who oversees ASG developments in Manu’a, explained Mutini was en route to Manu’a on the MV Sili carrying government cargo in the continuing government effort to improve infrastructure in Manu’a.
At the same time Mutini was supposed to ship to Tutuila — from his home in Manu’a — two pallets of cement in preparation for a family fa’alavelave.
Upon the MV Sili’s arrival in Faleasao Harbor, Mutini’s pallets were not at the pier and he was told by a senior member of his family they didn’t have the resources to move his two pallets of cement to the pier.
He then requested and made arrangements with Public Works in Manu’a, to hold two of the government’s cement pallets on the MV Sili for his use to ship back to Tutuila and in return Public Works in Manu’a could retrieve two pallets of cement from his house in Faleasao to replace them.
“That transaction took place with the consensus of both parties,” Lemanu pointed out. “This was a fair exchange, a situational leadership decision based on lack of resources, and unreliable government transportation.”
“Therefore, Solialealofiotagaloa Mutini never stole any cement pallets from the government,” Lemanu declared.
“...for the record, in Manu’a, our government borrowed from Solialealofiotagaloa the following: two additional pallets of cement to finish the gas station in Ta’u; one pallet of 18-inch bricks to build the office of Homeland Security in Ta’u; three AC units — one for the gas station office, one for the gas station store, and one for the Agriculture Department store in Ta’u; lumber for the ASG Office in Ta’u; and FREE of charge his family’s cement mixer to the government for putting up the structure and other government jobs,” Lemanu pointed out.
“To date, he has not been reimbursed for any of these items. Solialealofiotagaloa’s mother and family have hosted and continue to host numerous breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for government employees, mainly from Tutuila free of charge, as well as accommodate many government employees from Tutuila with rooms to stay while in Manu’a to include some World Teachers from DOE,” he said.
“I am sure ASTCA field employees, DPW employees and some World Teachers from DOE will attest to that. Solialealofiotagaloa and his family also hosted Troy Polamalu and his family when they visited Manu’a,” Lemanu noted.
As for the umbrellas in question, Lemanu said, they were used when the Indonesian contingency visited American Samoa.
Four umbrellas were given out to the Indonesians and their local escorts while two are with the Lt. Governor — one in the Lt. Governors’ vehicle, and one in the Lt. Governor’s office, according to the letter.
“When the missing umbrellas were questioned, Solialealofiotagaloa felt responsible for the four unaccounted umbrellas given to the Indonesians and their escorts and bought replacements,” said Lemanu. “Again, no umbrellas were stolen nor used for personal gain.”
Lemanu says that when he received the copy of the Aug. 28 letter — which the lieutenant governor says was written by Iulogologo and signed by Fiu — “I asked Solialealofiotagaloa not to reply to the letter and that I would take care of it.”
Lemanu said all passes signed by Mutini were “approved” by him [the Lt. Governor].
Samoa News reported Wednesday that earlier this year, Mutini was reported to officials at the governor’s office for allegedly creating several 24-hour passes for DOE employees and the passes were allegedly signed by Mutini.
“These are the facts of what transpired with the concerns raised” by Fiu and Iulogologo, he said.
“Therefore, I would like to apologize to Solia’s wife and children, parents — especially to his mother Musu, brothers, sisters and all his families and friends for such unwarranted public humiliation and embarrassment with such unprofessional action on the part of our staff,” said the Lt. Governor.
“Solialealofiotagaloa’s professionalism in conducting his duties as a public servant is unquestionable,” he said, adding that Mutini has a solid background of twenty plus years as a retired U.S. Army Master Sergeant which “solidify his experience as a can-do leader and a team player.”
“His loyalty, commitment to duty in serving our people is of utmost importance to him. He is a dependable leader that can take orders, execute orders, and command when needed to,” said Lemanu and offered traditional Samoan apologies to Mutini, his family, village and district:
“Ou te fa’atoese atu i lau Susuga Solialealofiotagaloa Mutini, le aiga atoa, nu’u ma le itumalo ona o ni fa’aletonu ma vaivaiga o fuafuaga a lo tatou ofisa. A tonu e avea lenei tusi e fa’amatala ai le sa’o o lau tautua fa’amaoni, ma le fesoasoani malosi a si ou aiga i le malo ma le atu nuu.”
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