14 Mar 2007

American Samoan official faces 70 charges including embezzlement and forging documents

8:56 am on 14 March 2007

The suspended Director of American Samoa's Territorial Emergency Management Coordination Office, Faamausili Pola was arrested early last evening at his home in Tafuna.

He faces 70 charges, including embezzlement, stealing, criminal fraud, using forged documents and making a false affidavit and false declaration.

Faamausili who has been TEMCO director since 2004 was booked and confined at the Tafuna Correctional Facility around 7 last evening.

He is being held on bail of $50,000 and will be making his initial appearance in the District Court this morning,

The cabinet member is accused of initiating a ghost employee scheme in which two citizens of Samoa received regular paychecks from TEMCO while one was working for a fishing boat that Pola owned while the other maintained a full time job at Star Kist.

The ghost employee scheme became the subject of an investigation by the Attorney General's Office after ASG Comptroller Biran Mix made inquiries into the depeletion of funds at TEMCO resuling in some employees not getting paid and others being terminated.