Former Government Employee Pleads Guilty to Theft as a Servant


03 November 2020, Apia Samoa. A former employee of the Samoa Shipping Services pleaded guilty to 11 counts of theft as a servant in the Supreme Court yesterday  morning.

Falepau Jeni Samuelu entered the plea through her lawyer Unasa Iuni Sapolu, accepting the police summary of facts that a total of $33,910 was stolen between 19 July 2019 and 3rd February 2020.

Ms Samuelu was an Accounts Payable Officer at SSS responsible for preparing payment vouchers and cheques for the government authority.

In the course of her normal duties, Ms Samuelu would receive request forms for the processing of SSS payments. She would then proceed to prepare the required payment vouchers.

In a system seeming to be lacking the accounting safeguard of separation of duties, Samuelu was then also responsible for giving cheques to the Corporate Assistant Manager to sign, before releasing cheques to payees.

On eleven separate occasions, the defendant reproduced payment vouchers and cheques for invoices already paid to suppliers. The defendant was able to cash out those cheques, and used the funds ‘for her personal use’.

Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke postponed the matter to later this month, for sentencing.

Marieta H Ilalio