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ASDHS corrective action plan gets an A+ from grantors

Gov. Togiola Tulafono was informed last week by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Grants Division that removal of “all Special Conditions and Administrative Holds” for American Samoa’s fiscal year 2007 through 2009 Homeland Security Grants Program awards has been completed.

In his letter to the governor, David W. Nichols, USDHS/ FEMA’s Program Analyst, U. S. Pacific and Territories, said he commends the “strong commitment and efforts to resolving these issues by the American Samoa Department of Homeland Security and the dedicated employees who work to serve and save from harm the citizens of American Samoa under direction of Director Michael R. Sala.”

“Since establishment of the American Samoa Department of Homeland Security, the office has implemented new programmatic and financial practices to ensure deficiencies from the past were corrected and together with the success of implementing a triumphant Corrective Action Plan and positive A-133 audit, the American Samoa Department of Homeland Security has shown exceptional progress towards its entire program with great efforts towards once again being professional stewards of the entire program,” he wrote.


All homeland security funding for American Samoa was frozen more than three years ago when grant expenditures were questioned and found to be disallowable during the time these grants were under direction of the Territorial Office of Homeland Security, which was later dissolved and some 30 employees laid off.

 ASG was then placed under special Special Conditions and Administrative Holds for all USDHS grants to the territory, while at the same time, legislation was put through to the Fono to establish ASDHS, which was later signed into law.

ASDHS was required to address the program funding and financial deficiencies with its Corrective Action Plan (CAP). While many of the deficiencies were corrected, there were only five recommendations that remained pending.

In a May 5, 2011 letter, Anne L. Richards of the USDHS Office of Inspector General wrote to Elizabeth M. Harman, assistant administrator of Grant Programs Directorate at FEMA proving an update about ASDHS.

Richards said her office received and evaluated the FEMA Mar. 3, 2011, Corrective Action Plan (CAP) update to the recommendations contained in the audit report for American Samoa.

“Based on our analysis of the corrective actions, the status of the five recommendations has been changed from Resolved and Open to Resolved and Closed,” she wrote.

An A-133 Single Audit and review conducted by Moss Adams, LLP last October gave ASDHS high marks as they found that all deficiencies had been corrected through the successful implementation of the CAP.

“ASDHS complied, in all material respects, with the requirements referred to above that are applicable to the Homeland Security Grants,” the audit report states. “"We did not identify any deficiencies in internal control over compliance that we consider to be material weakness.”

With reference to Questioned Costs, "There are no instances of questioned costs noted,” the report says.

Today, ASDHS includes the Territorial Emergency Management Coordinating Office (TEMCO), the Office of Vital Statistics (OVS), Office of Homeland Security (OHS), and the Office of Territorial and International Criminal Intelligence and Drug Enforcement (OTICIDE)  that includes South Pacific Islands Criminal Intelligence Network (SPICIN), with direct access to law enforcement databases such as the FBI National Crime Information Center (NCIC), National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS), DEA El Paso Intelligence (EPIC), Regional Information Sharing System/Automated Trusted Information Exchange (RISS ATIX),and  DEA National Drug Pointer Index (NDPIX), MSISAC Cyber Security Network.