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P.M. explains role of Cabinet Ministers as shareholders

Cabinet Ministers who are appointed as shareholders for State-owned enterprises are representatives of the Government. 

That's what Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi said when he was asked why the names of some Cabinet Ministers appear as shareholders in some state-owned enterprises.

Tuilaepa rejected claims of conflict of interest, saying these Cabinet Ministers are not there for personal gain. 

“They represent the Government and its interests on these boards of directors," Tuilaepa said, "they are not there for them personally."

Tuilaepa also cleared the air on former Cabinet Minister, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, being a director and a shareholder of the Samoa Land Corporation (S.L.C.). 

“The S.L.C. is a State-owned enterprise, meaning it is owned by the Government, was established in 2005 to oversee about 24,000 and its main office is in Vaitele. 

“When establishing a company, a board of directors is also created and is in charge of overseeing its operations and also shares. Any Government company - and within the board it is usual practice that it is the Minister - who sits on the board of directors and as a shareholder. 

“I was the Minister of Finance then, and I sat on the board as a shareholder and as a representative of the Government,” the Prime Minister said. 

Tuilaepa said when the S.L.C. was first established in 1990, $2.4 million Government shares was first used to start the company.

 “At the time I was a minister, I held these shares for the Government from 1990 to 2001 and I moved away and another minister was appointed as director. Currently, Minister Lautafi Selafi Purcell is the director on board for the S.L.C., a post that was previously held by former Cabinet Minister Faumuina Tiatia Liuga,” said Tuilaepa. 

“When he stepped down, I took back the post of directorship or shareholder until Lautafi was appointed as Minister.” 

Tuilaepa also rubbished complaints that the Minister of S.L.C. has no authority to sign off on land leases for the Corporation.

“The Governments is not a piece of wood, it is operated by government officials," he said. 

“The lease has to be endorsed by the Minister as the official stamp. The Minister has to sign off, he’s the one under the law that signs on behalf of the Government.” 

Tuilaepa reiterated that despite the change of Minister, the shares belong to the Government. 

“Their names are there as Government representative not as individual shareholders,” he added.

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