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Former health official jailed for stealing

A former health official has been jailed for a year and six months for stealing boxes of paracetamol tablets from the Moto’otua Hospital Pharmaceutical warehouse. 

Fou Sekone, of Magiagi, was sentenced by Justice Mata Keli Tuatagaloa on Thursday. 

The former employee of the then National Health Service (N.H.S.) was found guilty on one count of theft as a servant in October last year. 

The stolen pills were estimated to cost more than $3,000. The incident happened in 2016. 

Sekone is one of three defendants jointly charged with one count of theft as a servant.

He was represented by lawyer, Leiataualesa Komisi Koria. 

The other co-defendants and former health officials are Pio Fesolai and Amanono Mafuolo. 

They were jailed for two years and six months in 2017 when they pleaded guilty to the charges against them.  

A three years imprisonment was the starting point for the sentence handed down by Justice Tuatagaloa. 

She then deducted one year and six months for Sekone’s prior good character and being a first time offender.  

The charge against Sekone stemmed from allegations that on 31 September 2016 and 1 January 2018, he took 10 boxes of Pharmacare brand paracetamol tablets valued at $660 each. 

The defendant was employed at N.H.S. with the other co-defendants in the Pharmaceutical Dispensary Services Division. 

The prosecution’s case was that the defendant was involved with Fesolai and Mafuolo in stealing the tablets and had sold them to a woman named, Ema Toamua. 

The defendant was accused of removing the boxes from where they were stored in the pharmaceutical warehouse using the emergency exit door. 

The boxes were then delivered to Ms. Toamua’s house at Vaoala usually by the three men. 

In her evidence, Ms. Toamua said she started receiving stolen boxes of paracetamol in the beginning of 2017, shortly after she met co-defendant Fesolai. 

She also testified that she had met Sekone through Fesolai. 

But the woman's claim was disputed by Sekone, who maintained in his trial that he does not know Ms. Toamua. 

The defendant said he was never involved in his co-defendants' operation. 

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