Retirement Fund Loan Covers ASTCA Payroll Costs

A loan from  the American Samoa Government Employees Retirement Fund is helping keep the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority operational.

But whether using the loan funds for this purpose are allowed under the loan agreement between ASTCA and the Retirement Fund is uncertain.

As listeners would recall, the previous ASTCA board requested and was granted a $4.2 million loan from the Retirement Fund for the specific purpose of funding the Hawaiki undersea fiber optic cable.

Knowledgeable sources have told KHJ News that ASTCA has only enough available cash to meet salary costs until the end of August and is depending on the Retirement Fund loan proceeds to fund its payroll.

In an interview with the Chairman of the ASTCA Board and also interim CEO, Rep. Puleleiite last month, he said that funds remaining from the loan were helping address ASTCA’s cash flow problem.

An independent 2014 financial audit, commissioned by the ASTCA board chaired by Attorney Roy Hall, indicated ASTCA was carrying almost $12 million dollars in debt, a huge sum for a company with less than $15 million dollars in annual revenue.

Now ASTCA is advertising for a financial consultant, a position believed to be created for former BlueSky President and CEO Aoee Adolfo Montenegro.

Informed sources tell KHJ News that the salary being proposed for the consultant is more than $200,000 a year.

ASTCA is also advertising the job of ASTCA CEO after the board moved former CEO Alex Sene to head of Technical Services and Board Chairman Puleleiite was voted in as Interim CEO.

While some are questioning the propriety of having the chairman of the ASTCA board also serving as interim CEO, Governor Lolo Moliga doesn’t see anything wrong with this arrangement.

He says ASTCA is not doing well and it’s necessary to have someone from the outside review the situation at ASTCA, where he said  “many discrepancies” have been discovered.

He said it was pointless to appoint someone from within ASTCA to carry out this review because they were there all this time and didn’t see what was wrong

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,