Secretary sacked over forgery allegations

The services of a secretary to the Chief Executive Officer of Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure (M.W.T.I.) have been terminated over forgery allegations.

The Minister of M.W.T.I., Papali'i Niko Lee Hang, confirmed the sacking of Luana Palepua Kelsall following an internal investigation into allegations she forged official documents for personal gain. 

“She has paid back what is owed to the Ministry," Minister Papali'i said.

The Secretary was suspended in September this year for allegedly forging housing permits and pocketing the money for personal use. 

Papali’i advised that the Ministry will not take the matter any further. 

“The Ministry has opted not to take it any further, as the woman has already paid back what she took as a result of forging of the permits,” he said.

Repeated attempts to get a comment from Ms. Kelsall were not successful.

Last month, the Minister said the permit fees vary depending on the cost of a project.

A standard permit fee for a new residence is $1,200. 

At the time this matter was uncovered, Minister Papali’i reminded Government employees that such behaviour will not be tolerated. 

“This should serve as a warning to the government employees; the government will not tolerate any misconduct," he said.

“When government funds are misappropriated the consequences should be severe, especially when it comes to public funds. 

"The penalty for theft as a servant is hefty and that sends a message to government employees the government takes these matters seriously." 

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