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Former Samoa Land Corporation chairman under fire over $340,000 car

Translation by Fuimaono Na’oia Fereti Tupua

Questions have been raised over spending of nearly $340,000 car for Faumuina Faaolatane Liuga by the Samoa Land Coorporation – the highest price ever paid for a ministerial vehicle.

At the time the Finance Minister was the Minister for Natural Resources and Environment and Chaiman of the S.L.C. Board of Directors.

In their report submitted to Parliament this week the Officers of the Parliament Committee (O.P.C.) found the Corporation was instrumental in numerous developments without considering its ability of funding the such developments.

It says one of these major developments involving the Corporation that have greatly affected its cash position included the purchase of a $339,105.90 Lexus hybrid vehicle.

“The concerns reported by the Controller and Chief Auditor as to the financial crisis of the Corporation have convinced the Committee that this was one of the developments implemented by the Corporation without serious consideration of its financial standing and its ability to fund the same,” the report reads.

“In addition the Committee is questioning the appropriateness of the Corporation (S.O.E.) buying a car for the Minister when there was a Ministry (M.N.R.E.) that the Minister was affiliated to that should have bought a car for the Minisiter.

“The Administration’s evidence was that this matter was not referred to either the Tenders Board or Cabinet.

“It was during the investigations that the Committee was convinced that the matter was also not even submitted to the Board of Directors for approval.

“However the Corporation’s budget submission to the Board did include the reserve funds for the Corporation’s vehicles amounting to ST$400,000.

“At a later stage it was confirmed from supplementary submissions that the said amount was for two vehicles at $200,000 per vehicle - e.g. the Corporation vehicle and that of the Minister.”

Upon further investigating the expenditure the O.P.C. further found the actual cost of the Minister’s car as not $200,000 as provided for in the Corporation’s Estimates, but $339,105.90.

“This is the highest price ever for a Minister of Cabinet’s car,” the committee’s report reads.



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