MPs want 2007 South Pacific Games financial report investigated

Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, Chairman of the Parliamentary Finance and Expenditure Committee

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA: WEDNESDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 2014: Several Members of Parliament are looking at reopening and revisit the 2007 South Pacific Games (SPG) financial report despite Parliament passing the Samoa Land Corporation (SLC) audited report which highlighted some of the problems during SPG.

“These should be investigated,” said Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, Chairman of the Parliamentary Finance and Expenditure Committee.

He said there was no specific report tendered on the SPG finance, but was packaged together with the Samoa Land Corporation audited report presented and passed in Parliament.

It has been seven years since the SPG and no report was tendered, said Papali’i.

He said these things cannot be swept under the mat.

He also said that if others have been punished for collusion and corrupt action, then so should the people responsible for the South Pacific Games.

Asked why he did not do anything since he was the Minister of Finance at the time of the 2007 South Pacific Games, Papali’i said there was no report handed over to his office.

We (Government) had the impression of a “smooth sailing” handling of the Games “not knowing there were under the table dealings”, Papali’i told Talamua.

He said they (Ministers) could not know about the financial issues with SPG unless there was a financial report prepared them.

Opposition MP Toesulusulu Cedric Schuster supported Papali’i on the issue.

He said it needs to be addressed so it won’t happen again.

Asked if issues already passed by Parliament could be re-addressed, Parliament Speaker La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao said “yes”.

“But a motion has to be moved and supported,” the Speaker told Talamua.

After the SPG in 2007, a laptop with all the finance accounts for the games went missing.

The 2007 SPG Chief Executive Officer is now serving as Samoa’s Consul General in Australia while the Games Financial Controller runs his own business.

Central to the MP’s concern is the involvement of a middle man during the deals for SPG whom they believed was the same middle man implicated in the SLC report which eventually forced the Finance Ministers’ resignation in May this year.

The former Finance Minister Faumuinā Tiatia Liuga was the Minister in charge and Chairman of the 2007 South Pacific Games.

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