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Former Bank Manager pleads guilty to theft

A former Bank South Pacific (B.S.P.) Branch manager for Savai’i has pleaded guilty to theft charges involving $345,000.

Aitogi Iakopo Salanoa entered the guilty plea to all charges through her lawyer, Arthur Lesa, on Monday, and is facing 19 charges of theft as a servant and falsifying documents from November 2019 to May 2020 during her tenure as the head of the B.S.P. branch.

The defendant is suspected to have embezzled the money by accepting loan applications using fake accounts.

Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke presided over the matter during mention. 

Attorney General’s Office lawyer and prosecutor, Lucy Sio Ofoia, then sought the Court’s discretion to place the defendant in custody pending her sentencing.

She added that the defendant is likely to get an imprisonment sentence and time spent in custody should be deducted from the punishment.

But the defence lawyer Mr. Lesa said his client has asked that her bail continues until she is sentenced by the Court.

He explained that the mother wants to spend the time she has left on bail to prepare her children for schooling.

Justice Clarke made reference to the Criminal Procedures Act that directs the Court not to grant bail to a defendant who enters a guilty plea unless it is of the interest of justice.

He later granted the defendant to be released on bail until her sentencing on 2 November 2020. 

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