S.W.A. director's funding authority is capped at $200,000

The Samoa Water Authority (S.W.A.) Board Directors have authority to approve sponsorships up to the value of $200,000.

That is the view of the Ministry of Public Enterprises C.E.O., Elita To'oala, when the Samoa Observer sought clarification from her, after Minister Papali'i Niko Lee Hang defended the decision by the State-owned water utility company to support the Samoa Weightlifting Federation (S.W.F.) with a $200,000 sponsorship.

Papali'i, who is the Minister of Works Transport and Infrastructure, described the sponsorship as “for a great cause”. S.W.A. comes under the portfolio of the Minister, but the Ministry of Public Enterprises' remit includes improving the financial performance and compliance of all public bodies and their service to the public, including the S.W.A.

In response to a question on what authority board directors have to approve funds without Ministerial or Cabinet oversight, Ms To'oala said a government procurement schedule provides the different levels of funding approval for State-owned entities.

“The procurement B-4 schedule of Government provides authorities for all levels within Government. This schedule is under the monitoring auspices of Procurement Division of the Ministry of Finance,” she states in her email.

As to how much funding are within the authority of a board to approve for sponsorship, she said: “That would depend on what has been approved by the Board in the annual budget.”

In relation to the $200,000 sponsorship for S.W.F. which the S.W.A. Board Directors approved and Minister Papali'i said was within their authority, Ms To'oala said: “MPE (Ministry of Public Enterprises) confirms Minister Papali'i as you’ve mentioned.”

It is estimated that the amount donated to the weightlifters could fund about two hundred 1,000 litre water tanks for people in Samoa who have no access to water.

Last week, the S.W.A. Chief Executive Officer, Seugamaali’i, Jammie Saena, said they are doing everything they can to provide water where they could. 

At this point, 85 percent of families in Samoa are connected to the S.W.A. and the majority of the remainder to the the Independent Water Scheme. 

Seugamaali’i made it clear that the sponsorship was within their budget.  

The Samoa Observer previously ran this story under the headline "C.E.O. reaffirms S.W.A. director's authority is capped at $250,000". This is incorrect as the Ministry of Public Enterprises has advised the cap for sponsorship needing the approval of the the S.W.A. Board Directors can go up to the value of $200,000.

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