Govt. cheques valued at over $80,000 illegally moved

By Joyetter Feagaimaali'i, 21 May 2019

A total of 346 unclaimed Government cheques — which were removed from the Ministry of Finance without proper authorisation — have been returned.

The cheques totalled over $80,000. 

This was confirmed by Ministry of Finance's Chief Executive Officer, Leasiosiofa’asisina Galumalemana Malielegaoi, who said there was no loss of public money during the movement. 

Responding to questions from the Samoa Observer, Leasiosio said the Ministry has taken precautions to address internal control processes to ensure it is not repeated. 

“The incident in question happened in February 2018, when stalled and unclaimed cheques were removed from our premises without proper authorisation," he said. 

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“All cheques were later returned and accounted for, the following day,” said the C.E.O, who also revealed that the matter was investigated by the Ministry's Internal Audit Division. 

Leasiosio admitted that there were "lapses" in the Ministry's internal control processes which are now being addressed. 

As part of the reforms, he said all cheques and receipt books are now locked in a secured location and kept under strict supervision and control of senior management.

“We have also strengthened other security checks including more frequent spot checks to ensure compliance with the Treasury Instruction."

Asked about disciplinary action taken against the Ministry's Accountant Clerk in question, Leasiosio said her services have been terminated “due to poor performance”. 

“The individual involved admitted to the offence and was warned by her immediate supervisor and Assistant C.E.O. following the investigation. 

“Her service with the Ministry was later terminated in 2018 due to poor performance,” said Leasiosio. 

By Joyetter Feagaimaali'i, 21 May 2019

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