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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (August 3, 1997 - Samoa News)---The Territorial House of Representative has passed a resolution to create an investigative committee to review the American Samoa government's financial conditions and operations, and investigate alleged illegal and corrupt government practices and activities.

In discussing the resolution, Vice Speaker Moananu Va informed House members of what he called "the urgent need to establish this committee to assist in the investigation of many issues and bills now pending in committee."

According to the resolution, despite the American Samoa government's continued financial crisis and cost-cutting measures taken to reduce expenditures, "several Executive Branch departments and agencies continue to pay for service and purchase materials and supplies that were not budgeted for and hire new employees at higher pay than career service employees."

Additionally, according to the resolution, "many employees have received substantial wage or salary increases, while the majority of career service employees have not receive pay increments for several years."

Furthermore, American Samoa's financial crisis "has adversely affected the operations of the government and service provided to people of the Territory as evident in the decline of health care service, unpaid debts that have accumulated and continue to accumulate each fiscal year, and the continued deterioration of school buildings, facilities, equipment and infrastructure.

"The Legislature realizes the urgent need to resolve the government's financial crisis," the resolution continued, "and to restore economical stability and public confidence in the affairs of the government, but requires current and detailed information on the financial situation and operations of the government in order to do so."

The resolution also pointed out that, "complaints have been heard of illegal and corrupt practices and activities in the past by some government employees and officials."

Also, "some of these practices and activities include abusing and misusing of public funds appropriated for certain projects or purposes."

Therefore, "unless these illegal and corrupt practices and activities are exposed to the public and actions are taken against those persons responsible, misusing and abusing of public funds will continue to exist and persons responsible will be encouraged to continue with these illegal and corrupt practices and activities without fear of retribution or punishment."

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