Former senior Govt. official faces theft as a servant charge

A former senior Government official has been charged in relation to the theft of up to $310,000 in public funding.

Police Commissioner, Fuiavaili'ili Egon Keil confirmed during an interview with the Samoa Observer that the former Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Galuo Serah Skelton, has been charged.

“Yes, she’s been charged with theft as a servant and she’s currently out on bail,” said Fuiavaili'ili on Wednesday.

Skelton is facing charges of theft as a servant in connection to the misappropriation of Government funds.

Last year, she was charged by the Public Service Commission for unlawfully obtaining Government funds of up to $310,000 for personal use and theft as a servant. 

The P.S.C. decision led to the Cabinet terminating her contract as the M.J.C.A. Assistant Chief Executive Officer (Corporate) at that time.

The former bureaucrat is scheduled to appear in the Supreme Court in a fortnight for criminal mention.

According to the P.S.C. charge sheet which is dated 12 February 2019, around the period 2015 to 2018 Skelton is allegedly accused of misusing her position as an A.C.E.O. to unlawfully acquire funds from three different accounts; the Civil Trust Account, Cashier Account and the Petty Cash.

Last year the P.S.C. moved to terminate Skelton’s contract on 28 February 2019 which was confirmed in a letter signed by the Public Service Commission Chairman, Aiono Mose Su'a.

“The effective day of termination is 27 February, 2019,” the letter reads. “As per clause 19 (2) of the contract you are not entitled to any contract benefits.”

The Chairman added that the matter has been transferred to the Attorney General’s Office for other “legal matters.” 

This matter has been under investigation by the Police since February and charges were laid 20 months later. 

Attempts by the Samoa Observer to get comments from Skelton were unsuccessful as of press time. 

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