Suspended top bureaucrats plead not guilty

Two suspended Assistant Chief Executive Officers of the Lands Transport Authority (L.T.A.) have pleaded not guilty to the charges laid against them.

Mata’afa Sepelini and Anoanoai Pepe Lafai appeared before His Honour Chief Justice Patu Tiava'asu’e Falefatu Sapolu with their lawyer Fepulea'i Patrick Fepulea'i with counsel Leone Sua’a-Mailo representing the Office of the Attorney General.

Fepulea'i advised the court during the course of the proceedings that his clients entered a plea of not guilty to the charges against them. 

The Chief Justice, in response, acknowledged their plea and adjourned the hearing to November 19.

“Your plea of not guilty is noted. This matter is adjourned for hearing on the 19th of November. Bail conditions to continue,” he said.

The two senior civil servants were charged with alleged forgery, intent to obtain by deception and theft by the Ministry of Police. Mata’afa has been charged with alleged forgery and intent to obtain by deception and his colleague theft. 

According to the police warrant Mata’afa allegedly produced a “false document” by altering the year of make of a vehicle (with the registration number T454) from 2000 to 2005, knowing it to be false but with the intent to make it appear genuine.

The offence allegedly occurred on February 19, 2018. Anoanoa’i is facing one charge of theft where she allegedly stole $400 belonging to the L.T.A. on or between March 1-31, 2018.

The matter returns to the court on November 19.

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