AG's office ready to defend Lolo against ASGERF lawsuit
The Attorney General’s office stated that they will be ready with a vigorous defense on behalf of Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga against a lawsuit filed by the current Board of trustees of the American Samoa Government Employees Retirement Fund (ASGERF) for declaratory and injunctive relief regarding the governor’s recent nominations of the new Retirement Board for confirmation by the Legislature.
The members of the ASGERF board who are named plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Aleki Sene Sr, Faoa Aitofele Sunia, Fanene Morris Scanlan and Magalei Logovi’I, who are represented by Marcellus Talaimalo Uiagalelei.
Deputy Attorney General Eleasalo Ale who heads the Civil Division with the AG’s office, responded briefly to Samoa News queries sent for the government’s response in this matter. On behalf of the government, Deputy AG Ale noted they will file their written response to the parties and the court in this matter in due time.
“The Government’s response to the Complaint, which will be filed in due course, will set forth in detail why the court should summarily discard this action,” said Ale. In the lawsuit filed against the governor last week, the plaintiffs claim the Governor has no just cause to remove them as Trustees.
They point out they are trustees of the ASGERF Board and despite their appointments having expired for many years, they remain as trustees of the Board as their replacements were never nominated by the Governor nor confirmed by the Legislature. Also, they point out that by law the governor is obligated to consult with plaintiffs, and the governor failed to do that prior to his nominations made to the Fono on Feb. 25, 2013 and therefore the nominations are invalid pursuant to applicable law.
The plaintiffs also point out that the governor’s nominations have not been confirmed by the Legislature and the governor has expressed his wish for his nominees to immediately begin work as the new board. The plaintiffs also note that the nominees have expressed their desire to enter ASGERF facilities and offices to carry out their duties as Trustees.
According to the lawsuit filed last week, the plaintiffs are asking the court to declare that they are the proper Trustees for the ASGERF Board and ask the court to declare the governor’s nominations made to the Legislature on Feb. 25, 2013 as invalid, which should therefore be rescinded. They further ask the court to grant injunctive relief against the governor and that the court grant other relief it may deem equitable and just.