Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Asia Pacific Report

SAMOA: PM appeals BSA complaint but no new information on tsunami funds

Tsunami recovery work taking place in Samoa in late 2009. Photo: Alex Perrottet/PMC

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Item: 7473

ANALYSIS: AUCKLAND (Pacific Media Watch): Apart from the original tsunami report, released by the Samoan government last September – on the first anniversary of the tsunami – there is no other explanation of how much money was received, and what it was spent on.

The September 2010 report was simply a projection of how much money in general would be spent on the various sectors such as health, water, housing and electricity.

As we reported back then, It didn’t give any account of what had been received.

The Samoa Observer reported last year that parliamentarian Levaopolo Talatonu had questioned the government’s spending of donations and accused the Prime Minister of using the funds to move a town-planning project ahead – a project that concerned the Prime Minister’s own village of Lepa.

At the time of the report, the Prime Minister told Radio Australia the total amount pledged came to $57 million tala and that $68.73 million tala had been spent, “which means that we expended out of our own funds $33 million”, he said.

The government has still not given any indication of why there is a discrepancy between the Prime Minister’s quoted $57 million tala and the amount of $168.16 million tala that was published as received from overseas governments’ aid.

That amount included $90.74 million from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, which was a mix of tsunami relief and global financial crisis relief.

TV Bourke’s Samoa Observer article in October last year said the Prime Minister himself had called for a more detailed tsunami aid breakdown, presumably to comply with the Paris Declaration on Aid Relief Effectiveness.

Since then, nothing has been forthcoming.

Until the government comes clear, the subject of the Campbell Live report and the media complaint will remain a mystery, and perhaps a stumbling block to Prime Minister Tuilaepa's application to appeal the BSA decision.

Samoa PM's 'unfair' TV complaint turned down

About the authors

PMC profile photograph

Alex Perrottet

PMW contributing editor 2011-2012

Alex Perrottet is a journalist who has completed a Masters degree and Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies student at AUT University.

PMC profile photograph

Pacific Media Watch

PMC's media monitoring service

Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators.
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