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Ex-Ministry of Finance workers involved in missing $116,000

By Sarai Ripine APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, June 19, 2011) – In Samoa, two former employees of the Ministry of Finance have pleaded guilty to corrupt practices in the Supreme Court.

Muliupu Fe’epo, who is represented by lawyer Sarona Ponifasio, was accused of 30 counts of corruption.

The second defendant, Iva Peseta, faced 28 counts of corruption. He is represented by Tima Le’avai.When the matter was first heard in the Supreme Court, the ex-employees were charged with two others, Taylor Miti and Mata’u Milosia.

Miti and Milosia pleaded guilty to charges of corruption, theft as servants and being party to the offences.

The two who were employed in the Finance Division of the Ministry of Police and Prisons have since been jailed.

Fe’epo and Iva initially pleaded not guilty.

They rejected allegations that they were involved in missing money amounting to 270,000 tala [US$116,000] belonging to the Ministry of Police and Prisons from the period of January 2006 to January 2008.

Following a request from Prosecution, the charges of theft as a servant and being party to the offences were withdrawn. The matter was then scheduled for hearing.

But the hearing did not go ahead after the two accused changed their pleas.

They will be sentenced on 11 July 2011 by Justice Vui Clarence Nelson.

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