Supreme Court refuses arrest warrant application

The Supreme Court has denied a request from the prosecution for a warrant of arrest to be issued for a former bank manager who did not appear at a hearing.

Former Bank South Pacific [BSP] branch manager for Savai’i, Aitogi Iakopo Salanoa, was scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

She is facing 19 charges of theft as a servant, allegedly falsifying documents, and allegedly stealing $300,000 from B.S.P. during her tenure in the office. 

Her lawyer Arthur Lesa told the court that his client missed the early morning ferry and is making her way to the Court House. 

But prosecutor and Attorney General’s office lawyer, Lucy Sio Ofoia, asked the court to issue a warrant of arrest. 

Justice Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma then asked the prosecutor what evidence should the defence provide if he is saying that the defendant is on her way from Faleolo. 

In response, Mrs. Ofoia said in order for the court to make a decision, the counsel should provide evidence and confirmation for its consideration. 

Justice Fepuleai then said he accepts the reasons provided by the defence as to why the defendant is late to court and also noted the objection from the prosecution. 

The matter has been further adjourned to Monday next week for the prosecution to file particulars of the charges against the accused. 

Ms. Salanoa is accused of stealing from the bank by allegedly granting loan applications to fake accounts at the B.S.P. branch in Savai’i. 

Police alleged there were 19 different applications made where the funds were embezzled between November 2019 to May 2020. 

The accused is yet to enter her plea. 

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