19 Nov 2003

FSM congressmen and government officials indicted

4:59 pm on 19 November 2003

Three congressmen and two government officials in the Federated States of Micronesia are among 14 defendants charged in the theft of more than 1point two million US dollars in government funds.

The 32-count indictment in the Supreme Court names Chuuk congressmen Roosevelt Kansou, Simeon Innocenti and John Petewon, and executive directors James Fritz of the Commission on Improvement Projects and Frank Cholymay of the Northern Namoneas Development Authority.

The indictment alleges the defendants worked together in a scheme of fake purchases and false claims to defraud the government between 1998 and 2003.

Prosecuting Attorney Mathew Crabtree says charges include money laundering, bribery, theft, corruption, conflicts of interest, conspiracy and misappropriation of government funds.

"We've got compelling evidence. This is the result of approximately a fifteen-month investigation. The next stage will be that a judge is assigned to preside over the case. Once that occurs we will get a date and the defendants will all appear in court and have to answer the charges."

Assistant Attorney General Mathew Crabtree.