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RSA Lease Was Not Renewed, says Minister

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 02 AUGUST 2023: The Minister for Natural Resources & Environment (MNRE), Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster has confirmed that the RSA lease on Government land in Apia has not been renewed.

He also confirmed that RSA owes the Government at least $200,000.

He confirmed that the lease agreement was between RSA and the Government but could not find records on when the agreement was signed, however, the lease ended in 2019 but was given another 6 months extension to have matters sorted out.

This is the latest twist to the long running dispute between Tatiana Investments, RSA and MNRE on the lease.

Tatiana Investment claims RSA owes them $200,000
In response to the RSA President who is also the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Customs and Revenue, Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio, Afoa Faleulu Mauli of Tatiana Investments said RSA owes his company $200,000 for the renovation of the building

“We do not owe RSA any money but RSA owes us $200,000 being the cost of rebuilding which was approved by the previous RSA Executive and confirmed in the accounts of Tom Overoff under a Gentlemen’s Management Agreement in 1991,” Afoa told Talamua.

Schuster & Afoa Mauli
Schuster & Afoa Mauli

Minister for Natural Resources & Environment (MNRE) Toeolesulsulu Cedric Schuster and Afoa Faleulu Mauli of Tatiana Investments.

He also clarified that he has two businesses currently operating at the building which is the nightclub and the ROSA Restaurant and he has already submitted their licenses and police report to the Liquor Board Secretary but the Minister refused to give him his Liquor license.

“They denied my payments and when I asked why, I was told of the Liquor Board Chairman’s conflict of interest as he was the one that took legal action against Tatiana Investments in 2017,” said Afoa.

Afoa also stated that Tuala’s action is “unlawful and abuse of power.”

“Cancelling our business license and refusing to issue our Liquor License is a serious abuse of power and interference with the Ministry’s duties,” said Afoa.

Afoa claimed that after the previous Government terminated the RSA lease, he signed a short term lease agreement with MNRE but did not disclose how long the lease was.

Tuala confirmed with Talamua last week that RSA has arrears on the lease, and that was due to Tatiana Investment’s failure to pay their lease to RSA for using the building.

Tuala said RSA is leasing the land from the Government which is MNRE and Tatiana Investments is leasing the RSA building for its businesses.