AMERICAN SAMOA GOVERNMENT PROPOSES FEE INCREASES FOR HARBOR SERVICES

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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (August 23, 2000 - PIDP/CPIS)--The territorial government's Department of Port Administration is proposing to raise fees next month for harbor services.

The plan mainly affects pleasure yachts sailing into the harbor.

Deputy Port Director Moetului Iuvale said the increase in fees targets anchorage, buoy moorage and motor launch and tug services. The last increase for these types of services was 20 years ago.

Local laws grant the Port Director the authority to propose such increases, and the public may submit comments to the Port Administration before September 8th. If there are 25 or more people with complaints or comments, a public hearing must be called. Otherwise, the increases will become effective.

For motor launch and tug services, the current rate of $150 during normal working hours is proposed to increase to $250. The current rate after normal hours is $165. It will almost double to $300. These types of services are used mainly by large cargo and cruise ships and military vessels that call at Pago Pago Harbor.

Industry experts believe cargo vessels, in the long run, will pass on the increase to consumers.

Those who own yachts anchored in the harbor will see a major increase in their fees paid to the local government, depending on the size of the yacht.

For example, owners of transient pleasure craft under 20 feet will see an increase from the current $7.50 to $15 per month for mooring and anchorage privileges for the first three months. But after three months, the rate will go from the current $15 to $30 a month.

According to a local yachtie, American Samoa is the only island in the region that makes such charges, which do not exist in most other places in the Pacific.

 

AMERICAN SAMOA CHURCH MINISTER PLEADS GUILTY IN FAKE BIRTH CERTIFICATE SCANDAL

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (Aug. 23, 2000-PIDP/CPIS)--The leader of the CCCAS Talalelei Youth Group has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges and is set to be sentenced on October 13th, says Assistant Attorney General Robert Maez and Program Manager for the Territorial Task Force on White Collar Crime.

Rev. Isaako Matautia, who remains out on bail, was originally charged with two counts of conspiring to commit forgery in the birth certificate scandal involving members of the Talalelei Youth Group that traveled to Hawai‘i and U.S. west coast last year.

Conspiracy to commit forgery is a Class D felony that calls for five years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Maez said Rev. Matautia pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of aiding and abetting a false affidavit. Each conviction carries a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or a prison term of one-year in jail.

Rev. Matautia is alleged to have played a major role in convincing American Samoan members of the Talalelei Youth Group to allow the use of their American Samoan birth certificates to obtain Certificates of Identity for six members of the group who are natives of Samoa.

Court documents indicate that Rev. Matautia initially denied knowing or being involved in the fake birth certificate scheme.

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