Governor Lolo Moliga says there would be no need to terminate the Bank of Hawaii lease if the former administration tat candidate for governor Faoa Aitofele Sunia was part of had tried to prevent the bank from leaving.
The governor said termination of the BOH lease was part of the deal he made with BOH chairman of the Board Peter Ho as a condition for the bank to remain in American Samoa until such time that a replacement US bank was established.
Faoa, who this week resigned as attorney for the Retirement Fund which owns the Centennial Building that BOH leases, says in his resignation letter that he had advised the board of the Retirement Fund not to terminate the BOH lease.
However, the board terminated the lease.
Governor Lolo told KHJ News Faoa and his running mate Larry Sanitoa should know the suffering that the public has endured since BOH decided to leave.
And if the former administration had been concerned, they would not have chased out the bank or given it reasons to want to leave.
As it was, Lolo said, from the start of their administration, they’ve tried to get BOH to stay and have had a hard time.
He said factors which were out of their control came into play and the bank could not be stopped from leaving.
So he began working on getting a replacement bank.
It was in early December 2012 that Bank of Hawaii first announced it was leaving American Samoa in March of 2013.
However the bank delayed its departure first to June 14, 2013 and then by 12 months to March 14, 2014.
Then after Governor Lolo Moliga presented a strong case to Mr. Ho, he agreed to postpone the bank’s departure indefinitely and until such time that it was satisfied that banking services in American Samoa will be adequate.
Governor Lolo explained that termination of the Bank of Hawaii lease was part of his agreement with Mr, Ho, Chairman of the BOH Board of Directors.
And its his opinion that BOH should not be tied to a lease when it can no longer do business here.
Lolo said the Retirement Fund Board of Directors agreed to terminate the BOH lease because the government bank will be paying the same lease rate that BOH was paying so the Retirement Fund doesn’t lose any money.
The Bank of Hawaii had a 25 year lease for the ground floor of the Centennial Building from 2002 to 2027 and was paying a monthly rent of $22,454.
The Chairman of the Retirement Fund Board Vaanatiu Tofala Iafeta says the Territorial Bank of American Samoa is taking over the lease and will be paying the same rent as BOH.
We’ll hear about the governor’s reaction to Faoa’s statements about the use of Retirement Fund money to purchase American Samoa Economic Development Authority bonds in Monday’s bulletin.