A former employee of the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet (MPMC) found guilty in October for theft as a servant has been sentenced to 7 months imprisonment.
Mary Galuega had claimed during a one day hearing before Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren that she had lost the $15,000 tala banking, while on the way to ANZ Bank with the daily deposit.
She claimed that the money was lost as she walked from the Government Building, across the road, to the ANZ Bank.
Mary Galuega did not report the missing money straight away. She only came clean after three weeks, when she was pressured to prove the deposit had been made.
She told the Court that she was distracted that day, because she was processing a loan needed for a family faalavelave. She maintained her innocence throughout the case, however, the Court did not accept the explanation.
Ms Galuega was convicted of theft as a servant, and sentenced to seven months imprisonment by Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren who stressed the importance of safeguarding “public funds”.
During sentencing the Court heard that Ms Galuega had a wheel-chair bound husband and a young son with special needs.
Justice Tafaoimalo granted an application by defense counsel Unasa Iuni Sapolu to delay the start of Galueaga’s prison term, to give her time to make arrangements for the special needs of her husband and child.
Ms Galuega will start her prison term in February next year.