HAWAII LAW FIRM FILING SUIT AGAINST AMERICAN SAMOA GOVERNOR

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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (June 17, 1998 - Samoa News)---Governor Tauese Sunia's authority to retain the portfolio of Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) is being challenged in court again, as a result of a joint filing last Friday by the Honolulu law firm of Garcia Rosenburg and McKay and the local law firm of Katopau Ainu'u.

The motion asks the High Court of American Samoa to issue an order for the Governor to step down as Chief Procurement Officer.

The Honolulu attorneys represent Pacific Express and owner Aiva Filiaga.

The motion stems from Pacific Express's pending administrative appeal filed with the government seeking some $300,000 in payments for milk and juice supplied by the plaintiffs last year for DOE's School Lunch Program.

Pacific Express was originally awarded the $2 million contract to supply milk and juice for the school year which ended last week.

However, Governor Tauese, wearing his CPO hat, terminated the contract with Pacific Express when the company allegedly failed to fulfill its obligations.

As a condition for terminating the contract, the American Samoa Government (ASG) assured Pacific Express that it would pay for all the milk and juice en route to the territory when the contract was abruptly terminated. But Pacific Express claims that ASG has not paid them the $300,000-plus for the products already supplied. As a result Pacific Express is being threatened with a lawsuit by its off-island suppliers for non-payment of goods.

Aside from Pacific Express, other pending court actions against Governor Tauese concerning his retaining the CPO portfolio include a similar motion filed by Speaker of the House, Mailo Sao Nua, as well as BHP Petroleum, which questions the Governor's legal authority to award the multi-million management contract for the government owned Gataivai Tank Farm.

Governor Tauese Sunia has left American Samoa for a three week trip off-island to attend meetings in Fiji, Japan and Tonga.

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to samoanews@samoatelco.com

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