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Kite Runner still making headlines in Samoa

Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Samoa Observer just won’t let it alone. Once again yesterday they rehashed the whole saga of the American Samoa-registered Kite Runner reporting that the vessel entered Samoa’s territorial waters illegally last month without providing a certificate of clearance (CoC) after it berthed at Matautu. 

Where's the new news here?

Apparently — according to the Observer — a new report has been submitted by the Border Control Division of the Ministry of Customs and Revenue to their Minister, Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio. 

Tuala, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, confirmed in response to questions from the Observer that the report he received from his Ministry stated that the CoC for the boat was only obtained later, as reported earlier by the Observer, KHJ and Samoa News.

However, now Tuala has confirmed to the Observer that he was not satisfied with the report and wants to know the process and how the CoC was obtained when it should have been presented by the vessel's crew upon arrival. 

He also confirmed that the investigation by his Ministry into the matter is ongoing as it is an issue of border security. 

Also reported earlier in the media of both Samoas, the Ministry of Police did its own investigation into the matter after the Cabinet instructed them to investigate the matter and the report was sent to Cabinet over two weeks ago, according to the Police Commissioner, Auapa'au Logoitino Filipo. 

The Kite Runner belongs to Pago Pago businessman Papali'i Lauli'i Alofa and it travelled to Samoa last month to unload cargo in Savai'i for a family funeral. It was seized by the Police in Savai'i but was later released. 

Let’s hope the 61st Independence Celebration keeps the Observer occupied the rest of week. Until then — HAVE A GOOD DAY —SMILE.