Cabinet minister charged

A senior cabinet minister was arrested and charged with allegedly obtaining $136,400 by deception, yesterday.

The minister, whose name is withheld, was charged along with his wife and a business partner.

This was confirmed by the Acting Assistant Police Commissioner, Sala’a Moananu Salala’a, last night, in response to questions from the Samoa Observer.

He said the parties are remanded at liberty.

“They are scheduled to appear in the Supreme Court on 18 September 2017,” he said. 

“As for the identity of the accused, that I cannot disclose.”

“The cabinet minister is charged with obtaining by deception. 

“This is the same charge that his wife is facing, while the business partner is charged with obtaining a forged document. 

“Each of the charges carries a maximum penalty, if convicted, of up to seven years in jail.”

The cabinet minister is accused of allegedly obtaining $136,400 by deception, while his wife is alleged to have obtained $140,000 by deception. 

The Acting Assistant Police Commissioner also told the Samoa Observer the charge against the business partner does not involve any cash. 

The charges follow a review of the file of the Police investigation by the Attorney General’s Office.

The file was handed to the A.G. in May.

A month later. A.G., Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, confirmed with the Samoa Observer that the extensive investigation file was with his office.

 “The file already had recommended charges against individuals therein, with a request for a review and for advice regarding those proposed charges,” Lemalu said at the time. 

“Further Police investigations have continued, after the file was delivered, so that full consideration of the evidence is ongoing.” 

The A.G. told the Samoa Observer the file would be tendered back to the Police when all the evidence is considered. 

Once they receive the advice, it will then be the Ministry of Police's final decision as to whether to file charges, as their office is vested with the legal authority to bring criminal charges to court. 

“This office can only advise and act as counsel, but strictly speaking, cannot itself bring criminal charges against individuals.”

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