Police mum on bank embezzlement case

Police are remaining tight-lipped about the case of $1 million allegedly embezzled from the National Bank of Samoa despite sources saying the investigation is yet to yield any arrests.

Last March, the Police Commissioner, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, confirmed the Police had launched an investigation into the case. 

But sources within the Police’s Criminal Investigation Division this week told the Samoa Observer no arrests have yet been made in relation to the matter. 

Several attempts to contact Fuiavaili’ili seeking updates on the progress of the case have gone unanswered.

As previously reported by the Samoa Observer the alleged fraud came to light after sources from inside the National Bank of Samoa (N.B.S.)  blew the whistle on the alleged fraud and referred it to Police. 

“There are two former [staff], implicated in this matter and it was handed over to the appropriate authorities for an investigation into the [alleged] crime,” a bank official said at the time.

The source declined to be named because they were not authorised to speak to the media. 

The Samoa Observer contacted the Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Sam Swann, for comments through his office at the time that the news broke.

But messages were not returned. 

Fuiavaili’ili has just told the Samoa Observer that members of his Criminal Investigation Division were in contact with N.B.S. officials on the matter.

“As with many criminal investigations, we cannot share details of the investigation as it may jeopardise the case's outcome should we find sufficient facts and relevant evidence to support a criminal prosecution,” he said at the time.

The Commissioner’s confirmation of the case came after the now-caretaker Minister of Police, Tialavea Tionision Hunt told the Samoa Observer that the case represented a significant amount of money at a commercial institution in which several members of the public had displayed faith 

“It is a matter of public interest,” he said.

Last year, Tialavea confirmed a separate investigation against another former staff member at the bank alleged to have moved overseas after embezzling funds worth hundreds of thousands tala. 

“I cannot confirm the amount, but I can confirm the investigation, given this is a matter of public interest,” he said at the time.

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