29 Jul 2008

Samoa trial opens of former top customs accountant

3:31 pm on 29 July 2008

The trial in Samoa of the former principal accountant at the Customs office of the Ministry of Revenue, Sio Fepulea'i, has started with the accused facing only nine of his 21 original charges relating to the alleged misappropriation of public funds.

The former accountant is now facing four counts of theft as a servant involving some 3,000 US dollars and five charges of falsifying


Mr Fepulea'i was charged after a police investigation three years ago into the alleged misappropriation of public funds at the Customs


The same investigation had led to criminal charges laid against the Customs former auditor, Pepe Tevaga, who entered a guilty plea last month to one count of theft as a servant.

Tevaga, who is due to be sentenced this week, is one of the police key witnesses against the former principal accountant.

The trial is set for two days but it could be extended because police have 14 witnesses.