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DHS Director apologizes for incidents involving his office

Director of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Utuali’i Iuniasolua Savusa has issued an apology to Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga, cabinet members, members of the public and the Futiga Methodist Church for the last minute cancellation of a church service that was scheduled to be held this month in commemoration of National Preparedness Month.


The public apology came after the governor sent a letter to Utuali’i regarding several issues including the cancellation of the church service, the recent accident involving a DHS vehicle, and the outdoor siren system in Ofu.


In his letter to Utuali’i, the governor wrote that when events occur within departments and agencies, his leadership is exposed to public ridicule and his competence is subjected to question.


“I am certain that you would not wish to be placed under the same leadership scrutiny,” the governor stated.




Governor Lolo, in his letter, pointed out that DHS planned the church service and then cancelled at the last minute, although invitations had already been sent out. “I have complaints on this apparent breach of protocol; such failures do not bode well for our administration which has made a commitment to build community unity,” Lolo wrote.


“Again, I was not extended the courtesy to be told of such cancellation, but more so for those whom invitations were sent had not been made aware of the cancellation of this event.”


Lolo continued, “this is very embarrassing for our administration and incidents of such nature create the perception of incompetence, lack of proper thought and planning, and lack of professionalism on our part.”


In response, Utuali’i told Samoa News the reason he moved to cancel the service was because, prior to the service, the Futiga Methodist Church — through an invoice — charged the department $500 an hour for a two-hour service. “I cannot justify to the grantors that our department spent $1,000 on a church service and on top of that, paying for chairs and tables. It isn’t right — God’s Word is free!” said the DHS Director.




The governor has demanded a report from the DHS Director regarding the vehicle accident involving a DHS truck. Lolo said that as a matter of courtesy, he waited for a report; however, he is yet to receive one. “It does not project a favorable light on me that I am not on top of these issues when I am questioned by the public and the media.”


He told the DHS director to provide a written report of the accident and actions taken to mitigate the issue. Utuali’i told Samoa News he has not yet handed over a report, because an internal investigation is underway as to what the vehicle was doing on that side of the island at that time of the day.


He said the governor and the media will be presented a copy of the report upon completion.


As reported earlier, the DHS vehicle in question is a white Ford F-150 truck that landed on its side in Pago Pago on the westbound lane of the main road. The driver of the vehicle is an ASDHS employee who was rushed to the hospital following the accident but was later released with no serious injuries.




The governor, in his letter, said there have been reports that the outdoor tsunami warning system hasn’t been operational for some time and nothing seems to have been done to fix the problem.


Utuali’i, in response, stated that on October 25, 2013 a team from off island will arrive in the territory to inspect the siren systems in place and also fix the problem with the Ofu siren system.


The DHS director pointed out that all other siren systems are operational aside from the one in Ofu.