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Expense Report: Ed Summit came in under budget

joy@samoanews.com

There’s $104,609 remaining from the $300,000 allocated for Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s three-day Education Summit held last year, which brought all of the education stakeholders together to address alarming student performance statistics.
 
The event was packed with government leaders, lawmakers, district governors, village mayors, educators, church leaders, and business owners.
 
The initially proposed amount for the Education Summit was $500,000, but the Fono cut the request by $200,000. According to the expenditure report provided by the governor’s office, $195,392 is the total expense for the Summit, with a balance of $104, 608 left over.
 
Samoa News was able to obtain a copy of the report, which does not itemize or identify specific persons or entities that received the expended amounts. There are no explanations, other than certain dollar amounts are itemized, under eight expense categories: 1) Administrative expenses, 2) Stipend, 3) Travel, 4) Hotel, 5) Food, 6) Protocol, 7) Entertainment, and 8) Other.
 
The cut off date of the expenses is listed “as of” Jan. 22, 2014, and there is no explanation if the amounts listed are ‘checks’ or ‘cash’ paid out by the Governor’s Office for the amounts expended for the summit.
 
Samoa News should point out there are no “cents” identified, meaning the amounts look like they’ve been rounded off.
 
It should also be noted the Budget breakdown or allocations for the amount of $300,000 differs in terms of expense categories. The ‘budget’ allocates $48,000 to Personnel, $6,500 to Material/Supplies, $210,500 to Contract Services, $10,000 to Travel, and Other Expenses are allocated $25,000. As the Expense report stands — personnel, supplies, and contract services amounts are not identified.
 
EXPENSES
 
“Admin Expenses” total $23,904 and have 19 entries, with the largest amount listed as $4, 518, the smallest for $200.
 
“Stipend” totals out at $74,250 and there are 20 entries.
 
Samoa News previously reported in October 2013 that four members of the Governor’s Task Force on Education (GTFOE) received 4-figure stipends: Pulefaasisina Palauni Tuiasosopo, chairman of the GTFOE got $6,000, while GTFOE secretary Dr. Sili Sataua, GTFOE vice chair Fofo Sunia and GTFOE member Rev. Father Iosefo Timu each received checks for $5,000. The report lists three $5,000 checks, one $6,000 check, which would verify the amounts previously reported.
 
The rest of the amounts are as follows: there is one amount for $3,000, six amounts for $900, four for $800, two for $700, one for $600, one for $500, and one amount for $39,150. As noted, none are explained. Samoa News had reported in its October 2013 news story that certain Summit participants, including teachers, received stipends of $150.
 
“Travel” is listed at $2,169 with three entries, and “Hotel” at $7, 751 with two entries of $3,360 and $4,391. The Governor’s Office has confirmed Samoa’s Head of State his highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi served as keynote speaker, and was accompanied by his wife and entourage of two people, who all stayed for one week. (Samoa News understands that their hotel room cost was $127 per night. Three rooms (one for a couple plus two single rooms) for seven days would come to less than $3,000.)
 
Samoa News was also told teachers from Manu’a were asked to participate and their ‘travel’ was paid for by the Summit — it’s not known if they stayed at a ‘hotel’ for the 3 days of the Summit.
 
“Food” is listed at $59,570, with 9 entries, of which there are 3 stand out amounts, $17,750, $16,000 and $17,915.
 
Samoa News was told the three-day event served breakfast and lunch and on the last day there was a dinner party hosted by the governor’s office at the Tradewinds Hotel. Samoa News understands the food was provided by two businesses (DDW and Sadie’s) and one church: Petesa-Uta CCCAS where Fofo (who was Vice Chair of the GTFOE) goes to church.
 
“Protocol” was for $14,500, with 8 entries listed: one for $10,000, 2 for $1,000, and 5 for $500. The Governor’s Office told Samoa News in its earlier report that a $1,000 sua presentation was given to Samoa’s Head of State and masiofo, in addition to a $10,000 mea’alofa as keynote speaker. The other amounts of $500 could also have been for sua presentations, but as noted, no explanation was given.
 
“Entertain” expenses show as $6,800, with 10 entries in total: four $1,000 amounts, five $500 amounts, and one $300.
 
Entertainment was conducted by the All High Schools Swing Choir, ASCC Swing Choir, CCCAS Petesa Uta Youth and Reggie Meredith, over a period of 3 days.
 
‘Other’ came to $6,448, listed under five amounts: $2,000, $2,358, $1,190, $400, and $500 respectively.
 
Questions sent to the Education Manager Mikaele Etuale and the governor’s office finance manager, Don Fa’aiuaso were not immediately returned.
 
Samoa News also sent questions to Iulogologo Joseph Pereira as to what the government will do with the balance of the money allocated, $104, 608 — but there was no answer returned as of press time. Under statute, the balance must be resubmitted to the Fono for re-allocation.



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