11 Sep 2004

American Samoa man borrows from public purse - report

7:36 am on 11 September 2004

An employee of the government in American Samoa says it's common practice for workers to borrow money from funds that have been collected for taxes and customs fees.

Poe Faumuina has been quoted by the newspaper Samoa News, as saying that Treasury collection agents, aided by office staff, frequently "borrow" funds from Treasury.

Faumuina who works at the Treasury Department was served recently with a three-day notice of intent to terminate his employment over the alleged disappearance of US$20,000 - and is accused of committing a crime.

He told Samoa News that the misappropriation for which he is being cited is "common practice" in the government financial agency and at least five veteran Treasury employees are involved.

Faumuina tells the newspaper that the $20,000 cheque he is suspected of cashing, was not a cheque at all, but cash he was sent to collect from an Asian businessman whose cheque had bounced.