“Student” reminds ex-Minister about “massive financial loss”

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 23 January 2019, 12:00AM

Former Cabinet Minister, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, was reminded yesterday about the “massive financial loss” the Government incurred in hosting the South Pacific Games in 2007 under his leadership.

The reminder came from the Associate Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Alaiasa Sepulona Moananu, in Parliament during the Supplementary Budget discussion. Alaiasa did not say how much the loss was.

Faumuina had taken the floor and talked about a number of issues when he raised Samoa’s preparations for the Pacific Games in July this year.

“What I’m happy about and I think God knew that we will be hosting the Pacific Games again is that my trainees, Alaiasa (Sepulona) and Loau (Keneti Sio) are involved,” Faumuina said. 

“They are my students. These are laui’a.” 

Laui’a in Samoan is used to refer to a big fish.  

But Alaiasa, the Member of Parliament for Anoamaa Sasa’e, objected.

“He said we are his students. I request that these words be removed from the hansard,” he said. 

“The time when we were students under teachers is finished. We were assisting the Minister, during his time. Even though the Games in 2007 resulted in a massive financial loss, but we still supported him then.”

Faumuina disagreed.

“I thank the Associate Minister, the man is an Auditor but he does not know that $8.4million was left from the Games,” the former Cabinet Minister responded.

 “He doesn’t know that $3.5million was used for the supplementary budget of 2007 and yet he’s an auditor. We returned the other $4.9million to the Ministry of Finance, to pay off all the outstanding contracts from the South Pacific Games.”

Alaiasa though would not budge.

“He said I’m an Auditor,” he said. 

With regards to the $8.4 million, the Member of Parliament said this is the “view of the Minister with regards to what was budgeted.” 

“But this was not a profit, the whole of Samoa knows that the Games incurred a massive financial loss.” 

Referring to Faumuina’s explanation, the Associate Minister said: “These are two different things. I’m talking about what actually happened and it was a big loss and yet he is talking about what was allocated but unused."

“This is the difference between an Auditor and someone sprouting out unfounded statements.”

The response from Alaiasa was greeted with laughter from around Parliament.

But Loau, who is the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, had the last say.

“I second that we learned a lot at the time,” he said.

“But what we did was we captured all the good lessons and threw away all the bad ones. And this is what we’re doing now as we prepare for the Games this year.”

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 23 January 2019, 12:00AM

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