The Minister of Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Seigafolava, has denied claims taxpayers had to fork out to pay $80,000 on a 2016 Ford Everest he used at the beginning of the Parliamentary Sitting.
The Minister needed a vehicle as the previous Minister of Revenue had taken his ministerial vehicle when his term ended in March.
During an interview with the Samoa Observer, Tialavea confirmed the acquisition of the 2016 Ford Everest, which was intended to be his new Ministerial vehicle.
However, it was later returned to Ford Samoa while he used the Ministry’s Chief Executive Officer’s Toyota double cab pick-up truck.
“When I became the Minister, there was no official vehicle to use because the former Minister had taken it,” said Tialavea.
“Then the vehicle (Ford Everest) was used and intended as my Ministerial car but there were some changes.
“Some (Ministers) felt that we (Ministers) should use double pick-up while C.E.Os could use Tucsons. That is why it (Ford Everest) was returned and I used my C.E.O’s pick- up."
Asked how much the rent cost, the Minister said he doesn’t know.
“I don’t know about the rent cost.” The market price for a 2016 Ford Everest is $144,000 tala.
According to Tialavea, Cabinet has not enforced the changes of Prado to double pick-ups yet.
He said the decision is pending.
“There is a view that pick ups would not be suitable for Ministerial positions,” he said.
“But I feel more comfortable with a pick up than a Prado. In the end, however, we listen to Cabinet decides then that is what should be done.”
Under Cabinet policies, Ministers have the luxury of Toyota Prados as their ministerial vehicles.
But Tialavea said he prefers a pick up because his portfolio requires him do inspection in Oloamanu and other prisons.