DAEWOOSA COMPOUND IN AMERICAN SAMOA TO BE PLACED UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTROL

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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (May 29, 2001)---Daewoosa Samoa’s garment factory facility at the Tafuna Industrial Park will come under the control of the American Samoa Government on June 1st.

At the same time, the "receivership" that has overseen the bankrupt company’s affairs since January 10 will be dissolved.

Later in June, on the 18th, a court hearing will be held to start divvying up the various outstanding claims related to Daewoosa, such as who owns the buildings left behind on the compound.

ASG terminated Daewoosa’s lease in late January.

The government said Daewoosa had failed to pay its rent for years and owed $164,960 in unpaid back rent for the Tafuna compound.

On May 1st, ASG filed a claim with the High Court of American Samoa to take over the Daewoosa compound.

ASG claims that under the defaulted lease agreement, it should be given ownership of all the buildings placed on the land Daewoosa leased, as well as the other property left behind by the company.

The Governor's Legal Counsel, Henry Kappel, said all interested parties agreed to let ASG take possession and control of the compound (as of June 1) during a meeting held last Friday with Associate Justice Lyle Richmond.

 

FEDERAL JURISDICTION STILL A BIG ISSUE IN DAEWOOSA CASE

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (May 29, 2001)---Whether the FBI and the Federal criminal justice system has jurisdiction to handle American Samoa matters may be directly reviewed in the near future.

The attorney for Daewoosa Samoa owner Kil-Soo Lee plans to file a motion next month to dismiss the charges against Mr. Lee because of a lack of jurisdictional authority.

Mr. Lee was apprehended in the territory by FBI agents on March 23rd and escorted to Honolulu where he was charged with violating federal laws against involuntary servitude and forced labor.

Subsequently, federal subpoenas were issued against local government officials.

To date, it has not yet been clearly established whether the federal government has the authority to act as it has. ASG, for example, has declined to fully comply with the federal subpoenas.

In his address before the United Nations Decolonization Committee last week, Governor Tauese Sunia noted that federal law applicable to American Samoa must be further refined, defined and negotiated to appropriately meet local conditions and satisfy federal mandates.

Last Friday, Lee's attorney Alex Silvert told Samoa News that he plans to file in early June a motion to dismiss the prosecution of Mr. Lee in Hawai‘i due to a lack of federal court jurisdiction over American Samoa.

Silvert also told the Samoa News recently that he plans to seek an injunction from the High Court of American Samoa that will block FBI subpoenas to the local government that call for ASG to turn over Mr. Lee's tax records.

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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