AMERICAN SAMOA SECURITY OFFICE UNDER U.S. SCRUTINY

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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, February 1) - Governor Togiola said Territorial Emergency Management Coordinating Office (TEMCO) director Fa'amausili Pola is being placed on leave while an investigation is conducted regarding concerns raised by the US Department of Homeland Security over the operation of its local office, whose funding has been frozen.

"The concerns by the federal agency are very serious, and our Homeland Security program is under the threat of being classified a "high risk" operation," the governor explained. "In fact, our local HLS (homeland security) is operating under certain procedures imposed by the national HLS called "in lieu of high risk" because of management deficiencies that go back to previous years."

"Our local HLS funds are frozen until further notice, and the Comptroller is meeting this week in Washington with the national headquarters to review the process in which our funding will be restored," the governor explained. "This operation is under my direct review at this time and I will have more to say on the matter perhaps by next week."

Togiola's comments were in response to media inquiries regarding his memo placing Fa'amausili on excused absence for two weeks effective Jan. 26.

The governor said that his decision about Fa'amausili "was to allow time for the Attorney General's office to look into a report I received from the Department of Treasury."

He did not elaborate about the Treasury report.

"This matter is under investigation and it is not appropriate to comment one way or the other while the investigation is going on," he said. "I have also dispatched Olo Ropati to oversee TEMCO; review the situation with the organization and report back to me with any recommendations he may deem appropriate under the circumstances."

Comptroller Brian Mix left Sunday to meet Bill Powers of DHS in Washington D.C. to avert the discontinuation of federal funding for TEMCO and the Territorial Office of Homeland Security.

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