Samoa’s fiber optic cable debt to American Samoa remains unknown
Apia, SAMOA — The debt owed by the Samoa Government to the American Samoa government for the American Samoa Hawaii Cable (A.S.H.) contract that was signed in 2009 remains unknown with officials refusing to divulge more information.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi recently said the Government stepped in to assist Computer Services Limited (C.S.L.) – which is owned by the State — and paid off its debts to A.S.H., but did not give details on how much public funds were expended in the transaction.
Minister of Communication and Informational Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i, said C.S.L. should not be blamed.
“The contract is between the Samoa Government and the American Samoa Government, not C.S.L. This debt has nothing to do with C.S.L.,” he said, though he was unclear on how much the deal was signed for and the debt to ASG.
During a recent interview, Afamasaga said Samoa used a satellite dish and had no fiber optic cable, until the American Samoa government made the offer.
“We were given a very expensive deal at the time when American Samoa offered for us to sign on and at the time in 2009, the deal was quite expensive and we couldn’t sign anything less than 10 years."
“It was one of those deals, take it or leave it and of course in bettering our services to the people, we saw it as an opportunity for our people to connect and in their interest, we signed on a 10-year contract."
Repeated efforts to get direct comments from the C.S.L. management were unsuccessful.