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Acting House Speaker allegedly authorized illegal payment

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, May 19, 2011) - American Samoa’s acting speaker in the House of Representatives, Iaulualo Faafetai, has been re-arrested on three charges of embezzlement.

The charges stem from when Iaulualo was director of Human and Social Services, a government agency that’s fully funded by the US government.

The charges, filed by the independent prosecutor, Fa’amomoi Masaniai, are for his allegedly approving full pay for Aualuma Pese, who did not have adequate leave but was still getting a paycheck.

Masaniai says Mrs. Pese, the wife of a retired High Court judge, will not be charged with any crime and will be the government’s key witness.

Iaulualo’s bail is set at US$15,000 with his preliminary hearing set for next Wednesday.

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