Minister Olo defends purchasing $200,000 Landcruiser


Minister of Works Transport and Infrastructure Olo Fiti Vaai has dismissed claims the Government Landcruiser that he is using with a private license plate is registered under his name.

He also explained there is a legitimate reason why the vehicle has a  private license plate, rather than a Government plate indicating that it is the property of the Government.

In an interview with Radio Polynesia, over the weekend Olo said it’s been three weeks since the vehicle which cost $200,000 has been purchased and used for Government purposes, such as for site visits. Adding that initially a $50,000 tala from the Samoa Airport Authority budget was used to make a deposit for the vehicle.

However, those funds have been reimbursed from the waterfront project that had leftover funding yet it was near the closing of the project.

He said the vehicle was purchased from Australia as the local Toyota branch didn’t have a Landcruiser in stock.

The title of the Government vehicle in question

The vehicle in question with private license plate 42298 is registered under the Ministry of Works Transport and Infrastructure. Radio Polynesia has confirmed this after obtaining the title of the vehicle which is registered on the Land Transport Authority vehicle registration system.

“The vehicle was purchased through funding from the waterfront project and until the project is complete only then the vehicle can carry a government license,” said the Minister.

Adding that the cost of the vehicle is $200,000 and initially the Samoa Airport Authority was supposed to provide a vehicle for the Minister, instead, they deposited $50,000 while waiting for a vehicle. Two weeks later, the Minister received word about unused funding from New Zealand for the Waterfront project was to be returned, and this prompted the move to purchase the vehicle, to ensure the project funding is fully utilized.

The Minister further pointed out that the Cabinet and the Ministry of Finance were well aware of the situation hence the release of funding for the Landcruiser.