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ASG hoping to check on its land in Tonga

reporters@samoanews.com

Commerce Department deputy director Lelei Peau says the local government is hoping to conduct a site visit of the ASG leased land in Tonga’s capital of Nukualofa sometime soon.

Peau was asked recently during DOC’s budget review for the status of the ASG land, which was part of an agreement between ASG several years ago, during the term of the late former Gov. A.P. Lutali, and the Tongan government.

According to the deputy director, ASG officials are preparing for a visit to Nukualofa and hopefully this can be done before the end of the year. He says that the government is hoping  by that time, Inter Island Airways has started operating flights to the Island kingdom.

An airline official told Samoa News last month that they are focusing on starting up flights between Pago Pago and Tonga this year.

ASG’s  land in Tonga was an exchange made with the Lutali Administration under an April 1986 Memorandum of Understanding on Principles of Economic Cooperation between the two sides. Under the MOU, the Tongan government is leasing 43,560 square feet of ASG property next to the Tafuna Family Health Center.

In the summer of 2008, the Senate called on the government to make use of this land in Tonga, in which ASG is not paying any money for a lease. Two years earlier, in 2006, ASG’s list of properties outlined in brochures that were distributed at the trade and real estate investment conference in Hong Kong including the land in Tonga.

Gov. Togiola Tulafono said at the time that he opted to include this parcel in the information of ASG’s list of properties because if American Samoa is not going to use the land, it might as well be put to good use and have a company lease it so revenues can be earned.

It was also in 2006 that Togiola visit the ASG land parcel while in Nukualofa during funeral service of the late King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV. Togiola said he believes the best development for this land is a hotel and was looking for investors.

Samoa News should point out that over the years, there has been alot of talk about development of the land or leasing it out, but nothing more has come out of it.



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