15 September 2020, Mulinuu Apia. Five former employees of the Samoa Sports lotto have accepted charges brought against them following incidents of defrauding and theft recently discovered within the government-owned authority.
A further four ex-staff members have denied the charges, entering not guilty pleas through their respective defense Counsels.
The issue surfaced when a sacked employee Silika Hala went to social media with serious allegations that TMS (The Mail Service) tickets purchased by customers through Samoa Sports lotto for the Australian lotto, were not being transmitted. This caused a panic to customers, threatening the reputation of the Authority.
The Gambling Control Authority issued a public notice confirming legal action to be taken against the culprits of the scam, and against those responsible for social media posts that caused defamation and public harassment to the organisation.
A statement by the Gambling Control Authority had confirmed at the time that, “Those charged with theft will include the former employee responsible for the social media posts attacking Samoa Sports Lotto. We have also filed additional criminal complaints against this same person and members of her family for defamation, harassment and intimidation as well as threats made against the staff and property of Samoa Sports Lotto”.
This week in the Supreme Court, charges of theft as a servant were finalised by Prosecution and all nine accused entered pleas during criminal mentions.
Telesia Bourne of Luatuanuu represented by lawyer Toleafoa Vaega Lei Sam accepted 5 charges of theft as a servant against her.
Defense Counsel Aeau Tima Leavai represented Ulalia Sulufau of Leulumoega-Tuai who accepted 4 charges amounting to $352.80 tala.
Asofolau Brown of Toomatagi was represented by Afa Lesa, and accepted 7 charges of theft as a servant.
Pio Paepae of Ulutogia Aleipata and Masela Masoe of Vaitele-Uta were both unrepresented, and pleaded guilty to ten charges totaling $2,383.39 and seven charges totaling $691.80, respectively.
Justice Vui Clarence Nelson will sentence all five defendants in October.
Silika Hala of Afiamalu, Leilua Tonuu of Alamagoto and Malie, Talosaga Wales Amosa of Fagalii and Lui Feseetai of Vaitele-Tai have all pleaded not guilty to charges of theft as a servant. All four accused are on bail to await their trial date, now set for 10 May 2021.