Former S.S.S. employee charged with theft

A former Samoa Shipping Services (S.S.S.) employee accused of misappropriating over $30,000 in Government funds has been charged. 

Falepau Samuelu was arrested and charged with theft on Thursday. 

The Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration's Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Ve'atauia Fa'atasi Puleiata, told the Samoa Observer the woman’s case would be heard in court later this month. 

“Samuelu has been remanded out on bail and will appear in the Supreme Court on 27 July, 2020. She is facing charges of theft,” he said. 

Repeated efforts to get a direct comment from Samuelu have been unsuccessful.

Last week, the S.S.S. Chief Executive Officer, Lautimuia Afoa Uelese, said the employee’s services had been terminated immediately. 

Lautimuia expressed disappointment and revealed that the alleged misuse of Government funds would never have been discovered if the organisation did not update its internal payment systems.

“This is [the] reason it was detected quickly and we [have done] a complete review and overhaul of internal control on payment processes,” he added.

The C.E.O. declined to give more details noting that it may jeopardise an ongoing criminal investigation.

According to an official who works with the shipping service but is not authorised to speak to the media, the sacked employee used vouchers that were issued to process payments for sailors.

The S.S.S., which was established by the Samoa Government in 1978, currently oversees providing local crew to international vessels.  



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