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Governor appoints two senior officials to review LBJ finances

Gov. Togiola Tulafono has appointed two senior officials from his administration to conduct a financial and personnel review of the LBJ Medical Center on behalf of ASG, as the governor forges ahead with plans to return the hospital to the government.

The governor’s proposed legislation to return the hospital back to ASG Department of Health has yet to be introduced in the Fono, as of yesterday. 

In a memo dated yesterday, the governor appointed deputy treasurer Ueligitone Tonumaipe’a and ASG internal auditor Gaea Perefoti Failautusi to the task. The governor had announced Monday he has sent a bill to the the Fono that would return LBJ to the ASG Department of Health.

In preparation for the transition, the governor said he has appointed two senior officials from his office to meet with LBJ this week to review all the finances and financial records of the authority in order to effect an expedient and smooth transition.

The governor, in his memo yesterday, said Tonumaipe’a and Gaea shall act as “ASG’s official review team to meet with and conduct an in-depth review of any and all documents and any and all personnel at the... Medical Center... in order to determine ASG’s role in the long term resolution” to the hospital’s financial crisis.

Tonumaipe’a and Gaea — a former ASG Treasurer — shall report back to the governor as soon as possible, the memo states.

Samoa News was unable to confirm at press time if the two ASG officials were able to meet yesterday with LBJ officials, and the extent of the review carried out so far. Samoa News understands that one of the main focuses for the two officials is to find out the actual financial status of LBJ, who implemented on Monday fee hikes and will be laying off more than 200 workers starting tomorrow.

Togiola said early this week that the only things that will change with this proposed legislation are the dissolution of the hospital board and a repeal from the law the position of Chief Executive Officer.