AMERICAN SAMOA HEADLINE NEWS

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Monday, August 30, 1999
Samoa News

AMERICAN SAMOA’S TFC IS HOME TO 77 VIOLENT CRIMINALS, 11 FOR MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO--One-hundred-fifteen inmates are incarcerated at the Tafuna Correctional Facility, according to a report from Commissioner Te‘o J. Fuavai.

Of that number, 77 can be classified as "violent criminals."

The information was submitted to the House Public Safety Judiciary Committee late last week.

According to the August 26th report, there are 94 convicted inmates, 20 with pending cases, and one held on an immigration matter.

Of the 115 inmates, five are female.

The majority of the inmates, 76 (66%) to be exact, are natives of Samoa. The 31 American Samoans make up only 27% of the TCF population. There are also two U.S. Citizens, two Tongans, and one each from China, Korea, the Philippines and Tuvalu.

Eleven of the inmates were convicted of murder in the first degree, but none have been sentenced to death.

There are 30 inmates convicted of rape, sodomy, or sexual abuse; 17 convicted of assault; 14 convicted for unlawful possession of controlled substances (illegal drugs), 7 convicted child molesters, 15 burglars and 8 thieves.

The white-collar convicts include three forgers, one briber, one embezzler, two conspirators, two traffic violators, and one immigration case.

VOTER ID ARRESTS: RETIRED JUDGE, RETIRED BANK PRESIDENT, FAIPULE

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa--Afuola and Meloma Kalasa were arrested Friday morning in connection with the false voter ID scandal and released late Friday morning after posting bail.

Representative Tofau Palaie Gaoteote also will be arrested when he returns from an extended trip off-island, along with seven Samoans who tried to use the false voter IDs.

The husband and wife are each charged with seven counts of conspiracy and seven counts of forgery.

Afuola Kalasa is a retired Associate Judge who stepped down from the Bench the week before last. His wife, Meloma, retired a few years ago from her last government post as President of the Development Bank. Prior to that, she was the Deputy Treasurer.

Each of the conspiracy counts is punishable by up to 5 years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Each of the forgery counts is punishable by up to 7 years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

NOISEMAKERS CATCH AN EARFUL FROM JUDGE WARD

PAGO PAGO--A quartet of noisy teenagers were called on the carpet Friday afternoon by District Court John Ward.

Judge Ward was trying to preside over the preliminary examination for Moetului Iuvale when the noise from outside the District Courthouse became intolerable.

Three times, the judge sent the Court Marshall outside to ask the noisy bunch to quiet it down.

Finally, in the middle of testimony, the frustrated judge stopped the proceedings and ordered the Marshalls and every able-bodied police officer present to go outside and apprehend the noisemakers.

Approximately 12 officers of the court and police officers jumped out of their seats and rushed outside. Soon, three young men and a girl were ushered to the front of the courtroom.

The noisy foursome was seated in front of Judge Ward who asked if they knew what a Contempt of Court citation was. When they all shook their head in a negative response, Judge Ward said it means that if you are interrupting the judicial process of his court, you can be found in Contempt of Court "which means if you have plans for the next six hours, the next six days or the next six months, you’ll have to cancel them because I can have you jailed."

COMMISSIONER TE‘O LAUNCHES INTERNAL INVESTIGATION

PAGO PAGO--The Commissioner of Public Safety has ordered an internal investigation into a police officer who he says has admitted to signing a false statement that implicates the Commissioner in an attempt to obstruct justice.

The alleged obstruction was during the investigation into the missing tuna case that eventually led to the arrest of former Acting Port Director Moetului Iuvale

Commissioner Te‘o Fuavai believes the statements implicating him were improperly inserted into Sgt. Pouuamea Supapo’s statement by Assistant Attorney General Frederick O’Brien.

He says Sgt. Supapo then illegally signed the false statement, which Te’o believes was part of an attempt to falsely pin an obstruction of justice charge on him.

ASG OFFICIALS HAVE DIFFERENT VIEWS ON LETHAL INJECTION

PAGO PAGO--The House Public Safety Judiciary Committee has endorsed a bill to clarify that the death penalty is to be carried out in American Samoa "by lethal injection."

The Committee will present its recommendation to the full House early this week; lengthy debates are expected to be voiced on the floor.

Before the decision was handed down last week Thursday, the Committee heard from Police Commissioner Te‘o J. Fuavai and Attorney General Toetagata Albert Mailo.

American Samoa already has a death penalty, but the method to carry out the death penalty is not stipulated.

EILEEN GEORGE’S LOVE OF SAMOA SHINES THROUGH HER PAINTINGS

PAGO PAGO--Artist Eileen George is presenting American Samoa in a beautiful light.

Over the last six years, the former resident has sold almost 400 paintings of Samoan cultural, seascape and landscape scenes.

Approximately 100 new works are going on display, and are available for sale, in her new show that opens today at 8:00 a.m. in the Feleti Barstow Library in Utulei.

George had originally planned to open the show -- her fourth locally – at the Jean P. Haydon Museum, but its renovations are not yet complete and the Library was suggested as an alternative venue.

"I decided about a year ago that I wanted to come back and put on another show," the artist, who now lives in Washington State, recalls.

"I still remember American Samoa in my heart and it is very difficult not to think about the islands when I sit down to paint. It has been a big theme and inspiration for me ever since the first day I had moved here (in 1993, with her husband Jack).

"The new paintings are a labor of love," she continues. "Some of these paintings I did while it was snowing outside, and they gave me a much-needed break from looking at the wet, cold and gray outside."

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL POSTPONED ONE WEEK AT MANU’A AND NU’UULI HIGH SCHOOLS

PAGO PAGO--Although today is the first day of school, not all schools are open.

Nuuuli Vo-Tech High School and Manu‘a High School will not get under way until September 6th, according to an announcement by Director of Education Dr. Sili K. Sataua.

Incomplete renovation work is the cause for the delay. At NVT, classrooms and offices are getting attention, while in Manu‘a, teachers’ quarters and other facilities are being fixed up.

AMERICAN SAMOA HEADLINE NEWS Friday, August 27, 1999 Samoa News

RUMORS OF TAX RETURN FAVORITISM ANGER GOVERNOR TAUESE

PAGO PAGO--Reports that almost 100 locals have received their tax returns "out of sequence" have reached the desk of Governor Tauese Sunia, and he is not happy.

"If the reports are true, I want the public to know that I was unaware of this practice and will not tolerate it. If it happened, I’m very angry," Tauese told Samoa News.

Treasurer Tifi Ale is presently off-island and unavailable to answer the governor’s question. In the meantime, Tauese says he has pledged his full support and commitment to Joyce Stewart, the Tax Division manager.

ABE MALAE TAPPED TO TAKE OVER PORT ADMINISTRATION

PAGO PAGO--Abe Malae will take over Monday as the acting Port Director, on a one-year assignment from Governor Tauese Sunia and the ASPA Board of Directors.

During that time, Malae will continue to serve as ASPA’s Executive Director.

ASPA Board Chairman Morris Scanlan told Samoa News that the board recognizes the importance of the port to the community and is willing to help by sharing Malae.

ASPA will pay half of Malae’s salary, while the other half will be paid by the Department of Port Administration.

Samoa News does not know at this time whether Malae’s name will be submitted to the Fono for confirmation.

TAUESE HOPES POST OFFICE WILL BUILD IN UTULEI

PAGO PAGO--The Tauese administration would like to see the United States Postal Service construct its own building in Utulei.

The administration is drafting a proposal to USPS to that end. The government will offer USPS a piece of land upon which it could build the facility.

Governor Tauese said yesterday that the proposal will be in addition to, not instead of, plans to work cooperatively with the Retirement Fund to raise a Centennial Office Building in Utulei.

At one point, the government considered approaching the USPS about being a tenant in the Centennial Building, but expert advisors recommended they would have a better chance of a positive response if the government instead offered a piece of land upon which the USPS could build.

HOUSE ENDORSES LONGER JAIL TERMS FOR VIOLENT CRIMINALS

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO--A bill that makes it mandatory for all convicted felons who commit violent crimes to serve 85% of their sentences before being eligible for parole was fully endorsed by the House yesterday.

The so-called "Truth in Sentencing" law was submitted by the Tauese Administration, which says it is part of a "no nonsense" approach towards crime in the Territory.

The bill provides that those convicted of non-violent crimes become eligible for parole after serving at least 33% of their prison term.

But those convicted of violent crimes would not become eligible for parole until they served at least 85% of their prison terms (or 40 years in cases of life sentences for crimes other than murder in the first degree).

Currently, a felon convicted of a violent crime can look forward to parole eligibility after serving 33% (one-third) of his or her prison sentence.

If the legislation is passed, American Samoa will become eligible to receive federal funds to improve correctional institutions, such as the Tafuna Correctional Facility.

SOLIAI TUIPINE NO LONGER SUBJECT TO AG’S STOP ORDER

PAGO PAGO--Chief Election Officer Soliai Tuipine is once again free to come and go off-island whenever the spirit moves him.

Soliai’s name has been removed from a Stop Order issued two weeks ago by the Attorney General’s Office preventing him from leaving the Territory, according to Assistant Attorney General Frederick O’Brien.

The Stop Order had been issued in the wake of allegations of false voter identification cards being issued by Election Office employees.

O’Brien said he expects to arrest individuals involved in the voter ID scandal soon, perhaps as soon as today.

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

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