14 Apr 2005

Samoa seeks extradition of former Customs employee who fled to New Zealand

11:30 am on 14 April 2005

The Samoa Attorney General's Office is in discussions with the New Zealand government to extradite a customs officer accused of misappropriating ministry funds.

Attorney General Brenda Heather-Latu told the Samoa Observer that customs cashier Gafua Nu'u, has been accused of making illegal payments amounting to almost 23 thousand US dollars to false customers. She also allegedly took more than 350 dollars for her personal use.

These allegations are contained in the Chief Auditor's report, following a special investigation into alleged malpractices in the Customs Department, between 1999 and 2004.

In his report, the Chief Auditor said he uncovered an amount of just over 80 thousand US dollars "unaccounted for" at Customs during the five-year period.

An illegal loan scheme involving a number of senior management staff members was also being operated using ministry funds, the report said.