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By Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Oct. 23) – Suspended Ministry of Health Chief Executive Lolofie Taule'ale'ausumai Dr Eti Enosa is facing 45 Public Service Commission (PSC) charges, it was confirmed yesterday.

Attorney-General Brenda Heather Latu told the Samoa Observer: "I can confirm that the suspended CEO is served with 45 charges."

He is now given 21 days to respond, she said.

Asked what the charges are, the Attorney-General said: "All I can say is the suspended CEO is being charged under the PSC Act."

Lolofie has consistently declined to comment to the Samoa Observer. Efforts to reach him via his cell phone yesterday were unsuccessful. It was switched off.

Mrs Heather-Latu said that other senior Ministry of Health employees would also be served with Public Service Commission charges within the next few weeks.

Lolofie was suspended by Cabinet on 20 September.

A Cabinet statement issued after a special meeting on investigations being conducted at the Health ministry said:

"The public is aware that PSC, assisted by the Ministry of Finance, the Police and Office of the Attorney General, has been investigating the actions of certain senior personnel in the Ministry of Health. The PSC investigation follows from the Special Fraud Investigation Report which was recently completed by the Ministry of Finance.

"Accordingly, Cabinet has today, acting under Article 87(3) of the constitution, formally advised His Highness the Head of State, Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili II, to suspend, with immediate effect, the Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Health, pending the outcome of PSC investigation and determination of any charges.

"Cabinet has therefore recommended to the Head of State that the suspension be on full pay with other entitlements intact as a Chief Executive Officer. In the event that charges are not proven, the Chief Executive Officer will be restored to his position."

A number of Ministry of Health employees are understood to be facing action. Some junior-level staff have been charged and have appeared before court.

October 25, 2004

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