Samoa PM urges Ministers to stay away from businesses

Samoa PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. Picture: RNZ

APIA, 05 OCTOBER 2018 (SAMOA OBSERVER) – Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi says Ministers and Associate Ministers should not be involved in their family business once they are elected into public office.

Tuilaepa was responding to questions relating to his Associate Minister Peseta Vaifou Tevaga, whose company Aldan Civil Engineering Company Ltd, has been awarded a multimillion tala contract to build the runway of a new airport at Ti’avea.

“They have been elected by their respective districts as their representative, and so the businesses should be handed over to the children and families, while they serve their constituencies,” he said.

Using the American President Donald Trump as an example, he said: “Look at America’s President, Donald Trump he has relieved all his businesses to his family while he submits to serving his country 100 per cent. There is no other classic example other than this.”

The Prime Minister also emphasised that there is a bidding process for all Government projects which is overseen by the Tenders Board.

“There is a Board that oversees the bidding process – they look at the scope of work, the appropriate cost and every aspect of the proposed project. This is one of the most transparent avenue the Government takes for projects is to tender and as a result, we review and find interested bidders who are qualified and those who aren’t also considered by the Board are past projects (if any).”

Tuilaepa defended the Tender’s Board decision to award a $3.57 million tala (US$1.34 million) contract to Aldan Civil Engineering Company Ltd, of which Peseta is the major shareholder.

“This project is the clearing of the runway in Ti’avea and considering past projects; the said company worked on the resurfacing of Salelologa where the market is now located.

“Up until now, this company has trucks that were damaged as a result of that project in Savai’i due to the complexity of leveling the area as it is very rocky,” he said.

The Prime Minister said Aldan Civil Engineering Company Ltd is the right company to take on the job.

“They have the expertise and the equipment to get the job done. Also their bid was the lowest and so these are the issues considered by the Cabinet and also their ability to see through the contract,” he added.

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