ANOTHER MARSHALL ISLANDS EMBEZZLER PARDONED

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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (September 17, 1999 – The Marshall Islands Journal)---For the second time in 15 days, the Cabinet has pardoned a person guilty of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars while working for a government agency and who had not been making payments of restitution.

Bruce Kijiner was pardoned by the Cabinet last Thursday, just days before a hearing in the High Court scheduled for Monday this week to revoke his bail and send him to jail for failing to meet court-ordered restitution conditions. Kijiner was convicted of embezzling thousands of dollars from the RMI’s Fiji Embassy while he worked on the staff there in early 1990s.

Kijiner is currently working as the clerk of Majuro Atoll Local Government.

In 1995, following a trial, Kijiner was sentenced to 15 years in jail, all of it suspended provided he made restitution to the government on a monthly basis of $750.00. He was ordered to pay restitution of $45,843.34 and to pay a fine of $500 for each of the 47 counts of embezzlement and misconduct in a public office for which he was convicted. The total amount he was ordered to pay back to the government was $74,343.34.

In the first year following his sentencing, he paid $9,750 and a $500 fine for being late on payments. He stopped paying after June 1996, and was placed in jail briefly in 1998 after his bail was revoked. In June 1998, after petitioning the court for reduction in the monthly payments, Kijiner was granted a new payment schedule of $400 per month.

On August 30, prosecutor John Young had filed a motion to revoke Kijiner’s bail on the basis that since the High Court’s June 1998 ruling reducing his monthly fine, Kijiner had made just one payment of $200 last July. There was no indication that he had made any other payments, the prosecutor said. A hearing was set by the High Court to hear this motion on Monday this week.

But the Cabinet pardon Thursday cancelled the need for a High Court hearing leading the RMI prosecutor to request that the case be dismissed based on the pardon. The High Court on Monday issued a ruling confirming the dismissal.

The Cabinet Minute pardoning Kijiner said that he was granted a pardon "for the offenses for which he stands convicted in High Court criminal case number 1994-004."

The pardon said that Kijiner is obligated to pay all restitution as set forth by the High Court and that this restitution "shall be paid in such amounts and at such times and places as ordered by the Minister of Justice."

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail: journal@ntamar.com

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