23 Jun 2008

A former police captain in American Samoa faces embezzlement and arms charges

11:03 am on 23 June 2008

A former police captain in American Samoa, Papalii Marion Fitisemanu, has been charged with five counts of embezzlement and possession of a prohibited weapon.

A warrant for his arrest has been issued.

Papalii has been with the Department of Public Safety for nearly 25 years and held many senior positions including head of Internal Affairs and most recently commander of the Records Division, which also oversees the police evidence room .

It's alleged that he delivered four weapons that he had removed from the evidence room and to the Samoa police boat, the Nafanua in April.

The patrol boat was in the territory for the Flag Day celebrations and returned to Apia that day.

The weapons were allegedly in a box that he gave to the captain of the Nafanua to take to the Samoa Commissioner of Police Papalii Lorenese Neru.

The weapons were turned over to two police officers from the territory who were sent to Apia to investigate the firearms which went missing from the evidence room.

It's not clear whether there was any financial transaction involved.

It's also alleged that an AK-47 assault riffle taken from the police evidence room was retrieved from Paplii 's home in American Samoa.

He resigned from his position last week and has left the island.