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Sen Togiola presses for further scrutiny of nominee for territorial auditor

Sen. Togiola T.A. Tulafono

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Sen. Togiola T.A. Tulafono has requested the Senate legal counsel for a review of the credentials and resume for the governor’s nomination of Tofa Sualauvi H. Su’a to fill the long vacant position of the Territorial Auditor, who also heads the Territorial Audit Office — an independent entity of ASG.

Togiola, who chairs the Senate Government Operations Committee, made the verbal request during yesterday’s Senate session after the nomination was introduced and assigned to his committee.

Local law states that the governor appoints the Territorial Auditor, subject to Fono confirmation, for a term of 4 years. Among the qualifications for a Territorial Auditor is that the person shall be a certified public accountant (CPA) or a certified internal auditor holding a current certificate from any US state.

While the CPA requirement has been part of the law for decades, the certified internal auditor provision was added a few years ago as the government was having difficulty securing a CPA to be the Territorial Auditor in past years, according to Samoa News archive stories.

The last Territorial Auditor was Robert Dantini, a certified public accountant from Washington State, who resigned in December 2012 during the final days of the Togiola Administration.

After the Lolo Administration took office the following year in 2013, the position remained vacant for the past 8-years.

During yesterday’s Senate session, Togiola scheduled the territorial auditor nominee confirmation hearing for the morning of Jan. 26th. He also requested that the legal counsel look into the law pertaining to the requirements for a territorial auditor and if the nomination is in compliance with that law. Togiola also requested a review of the nominee’s resume.

In his nomination letter to Fono leaders, Lemanu noted that the nominee has faithfully served the territory for many years and he has years of experience in management and in the public and private sector including work as senior accountant in the public and private sector.

The nominee’s resume — included the governor’s letter — clearly outlines the work in public and private sector. And includes senior accountant positions.

The resume also lists education - Piula Theological College in Samoa; Brigham Young University Laie, Hawaii; Mt. Roskill Grammar School in New Zealand; Samoa College in Samoa; and Leifiifi Intermediate School in Samoa.

There was no mention in the resume of whether Tofa received a degree from BYU-Laie, which he attended from 1980-1982. Also not made clear in the resume is whether the nominee is a CPA or certified internal auditor from the US.