"Timeliness" of Clerk investigation worries Auditor
The Auditor-General, Fuimaono Camillo Taimalelagi, has expressed concern about the “timeliness” of a criminal investigation into a former Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Sefuiva Charlene Malele, nearly 18 months since it began.
In 2018, the Audit Office investigated an official complaint by a Parliamentary driver, that alleged, among other things, the misappropriation of Government funding, human resources issues, and the abuse of Government-owned properties.
In 2019, the Attorney General referred the matter to the Police.
It has been 17 months since the beginning of an investigation by the Criminal Investigation Division.
In a press conference last month, Police Commissioner Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil confirmed the investigation was continuing.
He said the case presented particular “complexity” which explains why it’s taking longer than expected.
The Auditor-General said the original audit was performed by the Samoa Audit Office but it was now in the hands of other legal bodies.
“It was the prerogative of the Attorney General and Police to take and examine the audit of [the Office of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly (O.C.L.A.)] further as a criminal investigation so we cannot interfere with that prerogative,” said Fuimaono.
“However as a way forward a better referral system and arrangement is a best practice that has been in the minds and intentions of the main supervisors and regulators of integrity and integrity violations and breaches in the Public Sector, such as the Audit Office, Ombudsman Office, Attorney General, Police, Ministry of Finance, Public Service Commission and Ministry of Public Enterprises.”
“The timeliness of investigations has been a concern for all the regulators and supervisors of integrity and integrity violations and breaches in the Public Sector.”
He said intended improvements including a better referral and arrangement system and more co-operation and assistance between the regulators and supervisors of integrity and integrity violations and breaches in the public sector have been in consideration for an extended period of time.
“It has been flagged recently and there is positive hope this time that the timeliness of referrals and investigations will be improved much further with increased cooperation and assistance amongst the supervisors and regulators of integrity and integrity breaches and violations.”