Former N.P.F. employee jail for forgery and theft

A former Assistant Manager of the National Provident Fund (N.P.F.) was this week sentenced to one year imprisonment for forgery and theft of $2,330.

Tooa Puagau Samuelu of Nofoali’i pleaded guilty to a total of 20 charges of theft as a servant, forgery, false accounting and altering documents. 

 She was represented in Court by lawyer Diana Roma. 

According to the summary of facts, Ms. Samuelu posted loan repayments from contributors accounts into her loan payments and those of her cousin named in Court as Thomas Grey. 

The Court heard she would then access her cousin’s account and use the money between October 2017 to February 2018. 

A mother of one child, the accused was mainly responsible for all postings and data entry at the N.P.F.

In handing down her decision this week, Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala–Warren took into account Ms. Samuelu’s remorse, saying she believe it was genuine from the personal apology she made to the Fund.

Justice Tafaoimalo took 2 years and 6 months as a starting point for the accused’s sentencing. 

She deducted a year and 6 months for the former employee’s remorse, apology to her former employer and prior good character. 

The Judge said the victim is N.P.F. which has been entrusted by its members to protect their contributions. 

She placed emphasis on the aggravating factor of the offending being premeditated.

“There is a breach of trust given the accused’s responsibility in postings and data entry,” she added. 

“Not only was the trust of Samoa National Provident Fund breached but also of the contributors because the accused received all e-copy schedules which employers send to Samoa National Provident Fund with members names, their contributions and loan payments.

“This information was used for a purpose that it was not meant to be used for.” 

Ms. Samuelu has been unemployed since she was terminated from her job in March last year. 

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