Court hearing focuses on computer access

Computer usernames and passwords came to the fore when the Supreme Court trial of former Immigration Officer, David Nomereta Uaine continued.

Uaine has been accused of illegally selling Samoan passports and faces 32 criminal charges. 

Five witnesses appeared in Court on Monday and gave their testimonies. Counsel Lucy Sio-Ofoia represented the prosecution. 

One of the witnesses, Tanya Ainuu from the Office of Immigration, told the Court that she has been an employee for 13 years and often assisted the passports division with passport applications processing.

 In order to access the system, she used her own user account and passport.

Ms. Sio-Ofoia asked her if she recognised the application forms she processed and she replied in the affirmative. 

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When she was shown a status of the passport applications in question from October last year, she told the Court that she did not recognize the applications. 

But she acknowledged that her user account was used to process the applications. 

Two names on the application forms were Franco Fitu Rudolf and Mark Filo Hamden. But Ms. Ainuu said she cannot recall or recognise the two applications.

“Your Honor, I don’t recall. However, my user name can be opened and can be shared amongst my other colleagues and I think that is probably what happened,” she told the Court. 

Lawyer Unasa Iuni Sapolu, who is representing the accused in the Court proceedings, asked Ms. Ainuu whether the Immigration Division policy on accessing the system is that usernames should not be left open. 

Ms. Ainuu agreed with the lawyer’s proposition and confirmed the office policy.

Another witness, Vaileta Mataiupule, told the Court that she went to work at the Faleolo International Airport on that day in question and did not process the applications of Franco Fitu Rudolf and Mark Filo Hamden.

When Ms. Sio-Ofoia asked why her name appeared in the processing of the applications, the witness said her office colleagues used her access to process the applications.

The trial, presided over by Supreme Court Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren, was adjourned yesterday to November 10 for final submissions.

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