Former Sportlotto staff charged with theft

A former Samoa Sportslotto employee, who took to social media to allege staff manipulated electronic lottery products, has been charged with theft.

The Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration's Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Ve'atauia Fa'atasi Puleiata, has confirmed former Sportslotto staff Silika Hala has been charged with theft and will appear in court.

“Ms Hala has been charged with theft as a servant. She is scheduled to appear in the [Supreme] Court on 27, July 2020 along with the other [Sportslotto] employees,” Ve'atauia said.

The charging of Hala from Afiamalu over the weekend brings the number of former Sportslotto staff facing charges to eight. 

It's alleged Hala stole $70 while working at the Samoa Sportslotto. Others have been accused of allegedly “defrauding” consumers, who bought lottery tickets by depriving them of the chance to win prizes. 

The other seven charged are Tamara Folau Brown, 25 of To’omatagi, who is accused of stealing $509; Telesia Lina Paul, 34, of Luatuanu’u ($365); Leilua Tonu’u, 32, of Malie and Alamagoto ($129.60); Lui Fese’eta’i, 29 of Vaitele-tai ($365); Talosaga Wales Amosa, 24 of Fagali’i-uta, ($127); Ulalia Sulufau, 31 of Savalalo and Leulumoegatuai, ($127) and Masela Moananu Masoe, of Vaitele-uta and Palisi, ($339).

Last month Sportslotto filed a complaint with the Police against a former staff member, who took to social media to allege its staff manipulated lottery products that the local company is licensed to sell from its Australian distributor T.M.S. Global.

On Saturday, Sportslotto issued a press statement to clarify and clear what it described as the confusion and misinformation, surrounding the above matter for its customers.

“As a result of its internal investigations Samoa Sports Lotto had lodged criminal complaints against a number of staff employed as teller/sales operators that have been implicated for defrauding and stealing from Samoa Sports Lotto and its T.M.S. games customers.

“Those identified and referred to Police for their further investigation and subsequent action have now been formally charged by Police with theft and other unlawful acts.

“Those charged with theft will include the former employee responsible for the social media posts attacking Samoa Sports lotto.” 

The company also filed additional criminal complaints against this same person and members of her family for defamation, harassment and intimidation as well as threats made against the staff and property of Samoa Sportslotto.

“It is unfortunate that this investigation has been hampered and pre-empted by unbalanced reporting by certain media outlets who chose to publish various social media posts on this matter without verification of all the facts of this matter, which has resulted in misinformation in the public domain, thus undermining and harming the credibility of Samoa Sports lotto and its T.M.S. partners and their games.

“This has not only caused confusion, but detracted from the facts of this matter, which is that Samoa Sportslotto and a handful of its T.M.S. customers were the victims of the unlawful actions of some dishonest staff employed as tellers/operators and sales persons.” 

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