Gov. Lolo hires Monetenegro to consult for ASTCA

The latest change happening with the government owned communications agency, American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority (ASTCA), is that the former President and Chief Executive of the Bluesky Pacific Group, Aoe’e Adolfo Monetenegro, will soon officially be a ‘consultant’ for ASTCA, according to a report out of the Samoa Observer.

“Aoe’e is being hired as an ASG Consultant for the Governor’s office and for the government owned American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority (ASTCA). This was confirmed during a telephone interview with American Samoa Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga,” the Observer said.

Gov. Lolo told the Samoa Observer that Aoe’e will be working at the Governor’s office and given his vast knowledge in the field of communications, his arrival is timely.

“He’s to help improve ASTCA, but the contract has yet to be signed given that he’s currently off island,” said Lolo. 

The Governor pointed out the government has shares with the American Samoa Hawaii (ASH) Cable and wants to develop those shares. 

He did not go into details, but noted that Aoe’e is the one to do that. 

Last week, AST Telecom LLC, dba Bluesky Communications filed a civil suit against Aoe’e and his company, ACMA Management Consulting Inc. in American Samoa.  

The lawsuit is for compensatory, consequential and punitive damages and alleges among other things that Aoe’e diverted plaintiffs business funds for personal use, and that he continued to sabotage, hamper and disrupt the sale of Bluesky Communications Pacific Group, while he was still its CEO.

Aoe’e vehemently denies the allegations. 

The Observer reported that asked for a comment regarding the civil suit against Aoe’e, Lolo said: “The hiring of Aoe’e has nothing to do with the Bluesky issue, its totally different and that will have no bearing on ASG’s decision. 

“Once he returns from off island, the process will be completed.” 

Governor Lolo is adamant that they are making the right decision in terms of hiring of Aoe’e, the Observer said.

Aoe’e’s services to Bluesky were terminated by Blueksy’s parent company, Amper S.A, and as reported in the media, Aoe’e is suing both Amper and Bluesky, while Bluesky is suing Aoe’e and his management company.

BACKGROUND

Pulelei’ite Li’a Tufele Jr. has been appointed Interim Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority (ASTCA).

In an inter-office memorandum dated May 22, 2017, Pulelei’ite, as Chairman of the Board for ASTCA, informed everyone that the ASTCA Board of Directors has approved a resolution appointing him as CEO and Interim Executive Director, replacing Alex Sene Jr., “who will assume his new role as the Chief Technical Officer.”

Samoa News should point out that it has not been confirmed that Alex Sene Jr. has assumed the role of Chief Technical Officer. Queries were not answered as of press time.

Gov. Lolo officially introduced Pulelei’ite as CEO and Interim Executive Director of ASTCA in Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.

Samoa News notes that it has been long rumored that Aoe’e was consulting for the ASG, via the Department of Commerce. His participation in issues pertaining to ASTCA duly noted.

When the ASTCA board was recently re-constituted and Pulelei’ite appointed as Chair of the board, and later as CEO of ASTCA, it came no surprise to many in the community, who remember Pulelei’ite from his work with Bluesky Communications when Aoe’e was CEO of the Pacific Group.

In the meantime, the new Hawaiki cable that ASTCA has contracted to bring in — it got a loan of about $4Mil to help fund the project from the ASG Employees Retirement Fund— is slated to happen later this year. The governor, during the last 2Samoas Talks, is reported to have said ASG will not be contracting with Samoa for their new Tui Cable service, as there are possible FCC concerns.

Unconfirmed rumors are pointing to these events leading to ASTCA eventually being privatized, which some in the private sector have said should have already happened.

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