Peseta defends $3.57 million airport contract
Associate Minister Peseta Vaifou Tevaga has declared there is “no conflict of interest” in his company being awarded a multimillion tala contract to build an airport runway.
Peseta is the major shareholder of Aldan Civil Engineering Company Ltd, which was recently awarded a $3.57 million contract by the Tenders Board to build the runway for an airport at Ti’avea. Ruby Tevaga, Allen Tevaga and Danny Tevaga are minor shareholders in the company.
Peseta is the Associate Minister of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and is also the Associate Minister for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Office of the Attorney General, and the Public Service Commission.
Speaking during a press conference he convened at the Fiame Mataafa Faumuina Mulinuu II (FMFM II) building yesterday, in response to recent reports on the issue by Samoa Observer, he admitted that Aldan Civil Engineering Company Ltd is owned by his family but was adamant that there is no conflict of interest.
“This is a family business and of course I am not involved in the tendering process in any way. It is my son is in charge of everything including the paper work. I am just a shareholder, and if my children need me to work, I will work."
“There is no conflict. I told you, it is my son who signs the biding and tender documents, not me. I am not involved in any way I am just a shareholder."
“Again this is a family business. It may be a conflict of interest in the view of the public, yet I was never involved in the tendering process,” he said, in response to questions from Samoa Observer.
The Associate Minister also emphasised that there is no law prohibiting him or any other Member of Parliament from getting involved in business.
“There is no law and you should go and visit the Electoral Commissioner Lemisio. He will lay out the law to you and you will not find anything in there saying that Associate Ministers cannot be shareholders in any business.”
The company Aldan Civil Engineering Company Ltd was established in 1990 with Peseta indicating that he has been a shareholder of the company, prior to entering politics.
“Again there is nothing wrong with me being a shareholder, there is no law that prohibits that."
When he was asked if a law should be enacted to ban politicians from owning shares in private companies to avoid conflict of interest situations, he said he was not interested in what laid ahead.
“I am not talking about the future. I am talking about now and again there is no law that bans me from being an owner of a business,” he added.