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ASG calls BoH move for interpleader "appalling"

Wants money restored within 24 hours
fili@samoanews.com

The federal court in Honolulu has expedited a hearing date for the Bank of Hawai’i's urgent plea for its interpleader motion to be heard, while the American Samoa Government wants the bank sanctioned by the High Court of American Samoa for failure to comply with the local court’s preliminary injunction to return the more than $800,000 frozen by the bank — per orders of the federal court.

ASG’s response to BoH’s move last week of filing the interpleader motion, which among other things asked the federal court to order that the $811,000 plus, frozen by BOH, be deposited with the clerk of the federal court, was direct and to the point.

According to the ASG motion, BoH “continues to manifest its intent to ignore this jurisdiction’s law and order,” adding that BoH has recently filed a motion of interpleader at the federal court.

Instead of following the High Court’s order to restore the frozen funds to the government’s account, ASG attorneys say BoH now wants this money deposited with the clerk of the federal court.

“Thus is it clear BoH has no intention of rectifying its violation of American Samoa law or even complying with this court’s direct order,” according to the ASG motion filed by Deputy Attorney General for civil division Eleasalo V. Ale and Assistant Attorney General Michael L. Iosua.

“Indeed BoH’s actions over the past several months points to nothing but its intent to entirely disregard American Samoa laws, which actions should not be tolerated,” said ASG, who asked the High Court to enforce the preliminary injunction by requiring the bank to immediately restore ASG’s unlawfully frozen bank deposits into ASG’s general fund account in American Samoa and “require BoH to report its compliance to the court within 24-hours.”

ASG also asks the High Court to sanction the bank “for its appalling actions.”

The BoH interpleader motion was filed last Monday at federal court and comes just days after the High Court denied the bank’s motion for reconsideration of an earlier order to release ASG’s money frozen by the bank, pursuant to a federal court's writ of execution ordering the bank to pay this money to Marisco, who alleges that ASG failed to pay for services rendered. 

Last Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi scheduled a hearing on the interpleader motion for Thursday this week and gave ASG until today to file any opposition to the BoH motion.

BoH last Friday asked the federal court to take notice of the latest move by ASG filed with the High Court: ASG’s Expedited Motion to Enforce Preliminary Injunction and for Sanctions Against BoH; and ASG’s separate motion for a expedited hearing, which has since been set by the High Court for Oct. 31.

Included in the BoH filing is ASG’s expedited motion, which states in part that an “expedited motion is needed in this case because ASG will suffer immediate irreparable harm as a result of BoH’s failure to comply with the Preliminary Injunction.” It also states that the High Court has already determined that ASG stands to suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not complied with.

According to the ASG motion, BoH “continues to manifest its intent to ignore this jurisdiction’s law and order,” adding that BoH has recently filed a motion of interpleader at the federal court.



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