Samoan parish’s priest demands MP explain school grant

A priest at a Sydney Samoan church has demanded an MP front up about a questionable grant application for a local Catholic school.

Fr Maurice Thompson of the Samoa Catholic Church in Panania has written to parishioners saying he wants a response from Liberal MP Glenn Brookes.

This came after the L’au Samoa group applied for a grant of A$20,000 for a shadecloth at Panania’s St Christopher’s School.

“It is beyond me how a group . . . could apply for a grant on behalf of our parish and school community, our Catholic Samoan community, without any of us having any knowledge of it,” Fr Thompson’s letter states.

L’au Samoa’s president, Alaalatoa Emani, said of the shadecloth application: “I didn’t know anything about it until Brookes contacted me and asked if we could assist the school because the principal had approached him.”

Mr Brookes said L’au Samoa became involved in applying for the shadecloth grant after Mr Brookes himself introduced the group to the school.

Because the school was not incorporated, it could not apply.

A series of taxpayer-funded grants worth A$58,000 to L’au Samoa has reportedly sparked “deep infighting” in Sydney’s Samoan community.

One of the grants, for A$5000, given by Mr Brookes to L’au Samoa, was for a church in Panania to purchase “church equipment”, which the congregation’s leaders do not know about.

Members of L’au Samoa helped Mr Brookes’s 2015 election campaign.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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