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Lalotalie River Retreat
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Lalotalie River Retreat

Mapusaga looks for missing money

By Jasmine Netzler-Iose

The secretary of Mapusaga o Aiga, Alalatoa Breda Tipi-Faitua plans to call a meeting of the organisation’s board members to discuss the issue of alleged missing funds.

The matter was brought to the attention of the Sunday Samoan three weeks ago after a founding member confirmed that MOA’s CEO had left the country and that the organisation’s offices were closed.  Tavui Annie Laumea, the founding member, also confirmed that there was an alleged misappropriation of funds.

These funds were a donation from the US Embassy Charge d’Affaires Chad Berbet in September last year of $45,000.
The funds were meant to be used for the Samoa Human Rights Advocacy Project to address issues of family violence and promote awareness of Constitutional Rights of citizens.

Alalatoa said it was important that the issue be put on the table, that there is a problem at MOA.
She however declined to comment on how much money is involved but said “the accounts have not been audited”.

This involves finalising any of these allegations including speaking with the bank to show them their account statements and find whether the cheques signed were used for appropriate reasons.  However, “the board decides all of this and I will try to call a meeting with them because they make the decisions.”

Alalatoa said from there they will know what to do next “but the longer the organisation is inactive, the only clear option is to close down for good.”
However she personally feels that this should not be the case.  “MOA has been around for a very long time,” she said.

Alalatoa believes that whatever the outcome of t

he meeting  and what the findings are in the problem that MOA is facing,  “then if there are any issues with the Police then by all means that will be passed on to them.”  She said that this should be done for purposes of accountability.

That those alleged to be involved with the missing funds should be made accountable “and this is important for our donors and funders as well.”
“When all of these issues are looked into, MOA will then be able to issue a statement regarding factual information about these allegations of missing funds and how much.”

Her main concern now is that the funders and donors have to be informed of the current situation faced by MOA.
She said that it is “important that we contact the funders and donors who have put a lot of trust in us.”

“They provided the funds that were meant for the work of the organisation.”
Although this newspaper has made many attempts to get a comment from chairman, Maualaivao Pepe Seiuli, he has declined to comment on the matter.

He did however, relay through a family member that Alalatoa and Frances Schuster who are board members should be contacted.
Alalatoa said under their constitution, the chair is the point of contact for the media when such issues arise.

He is also meant to call a meeting with the board to address issues that arise.  However, since MOA has closed down, there still has not been any contact with him.
The date for the meeting has yet to be finalised.

Police Commissioner Lilomaiava Fou Taioalo confirmed that the matter has not reached his office yet.  “But if it involves criminal activities then the matter should be referred to us to investigate as it is the proper cause of justice and we shall then follow up from there if any charges should be laid.”

He said in regards to the Chief Executive Officer of the organisation not being in the country that matter can later be looked into.
“Investigations however can start off without her present.”

 

 

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