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Acting Gov. Lemanu relieves DYWA director Jonathan Fanene of duties

Lt. Gov. Lemanu Sialega Palepoi Mauga, who is also the acting governor

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Lt. Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga, who is also acting governor, has relieved Jonathan Fanene of his duties as Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs (DYWA) director, and appointed the agency’s deputy, Pa’u Roy Ausage, as acting boss.

Lemanu made the announcement in a Jun. 6th general memorandum, which he signed before he left yesterday morning for Manu’a High School’s graduation on Ta’u island.

“Effective immediately, Jonathan Fanene is relieved of his duties as director of DYWA,” Lemanu wrote in the one-paragraph memo, and designated Pa’u as acting director “until further notice.”

Fanene is facing 13 criminal charges — 8 felonies and 5 misdemeanors — in connection with the alleged assault of his wife and his sister on May 26th. (See yesterday’s Samoa News edition for details).

In a brief telephone interview Wednesday night, Lemanu said the Police Commissioner had given him a full briefing on Tuesday, regarding the government’s case against Fanene.

At the time, Lemanu said he had made the decision to terminate Fanene as director and an official letter was to have been sent out yesterday to Fanene.

“My decision was based on the briefing and information” received and reviewed, Lemanu said, adding that the information included photographs taken by police of the injuries to Fanene’s wife.

The court affidavit, supporting the criminal complaint, states that police took photographs of the wife’s injuries. She “appeared to have sustained multiple contusions of varying sizes encompassing the areas on the sides of her body from her shoulders to ankles.”

She also sustained injuries to her buttocks area, the upper portion of both arms and her lips from the beating that she was subjected to from her husband, according to the affidavit.

Asked if he has had direct contact with Fanene since his arrest and charges filed, Lemanu said “no”.

He also said that he called Pa’u to his office, and on Wednesday, Pa’u was informed of his designation as acting director for DYWA, until further notice.

Fanene has been DYWA director after he was confirmed by the Fono in February 2014, following his return to the territory in the latter part of 2013. He was the youngest — at age 31 — of Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s cabinet directors.

Prior to joining the Lolo Administration, Fanene played professional football with the National Football League (NFL). Fanene was drafted by Cincinnati in 2005. He played seven seasons for the Bengals and started 10 games for the team in 2009. He joined the New England Patriots in 2012 but was injured in training camp and was eventually released.