Vietnamese woman jailed for bribery

A Vietnamese woman has been sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for two instances of trying to bribe members of the Police force.

The District Court found 24-year-old Ah Tran Thi had offered officials bribes on two separate occasions in amounts of US$1000 and US$50. 

Ms. Thi is currently at the Tanumalala prison. Upon completion of her sentence she will be deported and become a prohibited immigrant. 

District Court Judge, Loau Donald Kerslake, delivered the decision last month. 

Prosecutor Iliganoa Atoa confirmed the imprisonment term on the charges. 

Ms. Thi was initially charged for the alleged importation of illicit drugs. Those charges were later withdrawn by Police. 

 The matter was then transferred to the District Court where she pleaded guilty to two counts of bribery of law enforcement officers. 

For the US$1000 bribery charge Ms. Thi was convicted and sentenced to 3 months in jail. 

She was also convicted and sentenced to one month for the US$50 bribe incident to be served concurrently. 

The Vietnamese woman was arrested at the Faleolo International airport last year for allegedly importing hard drugs in the form of pills.

She was in Samoa for transit purposes, en route from Singapore to American Samoa, where her relatives reside. 

Police had alleged suspected pills composed of heroin and found in her luggage had an estimated value of $400,000. 

The drug charges were later withdrawn due to insufficient evidence from Police. 

At her initial court hearing she pleaded not guilty to two counts of possession of narcotics namely heroin and racemethorphan and one count of importation of narcotics. 

The defendant was also charged for allegedly attempting to bribe a Police Officer on duty on the day of the arrest. 

Meanwhile, a Police officer accused of accepting a $50 tala bribe from Ms. Thi’s cousin has pleaded not guilty to a charge of accepting a bribe and is scheduled to appear in court for trial next week. 

Police will allege the suspended officer, Vaivali Laulu, was caught on camera accepting a bribe from Tran Van Dung, at the Police headquarters in Malifa. 

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