26 Apr 2007

American Samoan public servant admits computer theft

9:24 am on 26 April 2007

A former clerk with American Samoa's Department of Education has pleaded guilty to charges of attempted embezzlement and acceding to corruption in connection with computers stolen from the department's warehouse earlier this year.

Duane Vaa entered the guilty plea during yesterday's court hearing and will be sentenced by the High Court on May 10th

In return for his guilty plea to two of the initial charges, the government dismissed the remaining charge of embezzlement

Assistant Attorney General Mark Hales told the court that Va'a has agreed to testify for the government against others in connection with the stolen computers.

One case pending in the High Court is that of businessman Ji Zhi Ming, who is facing a charge of receiving stolen property.

A total of 11 computers were taken from the DOE warehouse and this case involves five of those machines.