9 Jul 2009

Convicted Samoan government accountant spared jail

7:25 pm on 9 July 2009

A former principal accountant of the Customs division of Samoa's Ministry of Revenue in Samoa has been convicted on four counts of theft as a servant and ordered to pay a fine of more than 4,000 US dollars.

Joe Fepulea'i was found guilty last month of stealing more than 3,000 US dollars of public funds.

He has been ordered to pay the fine within seven days or he will be sent to jail for eleven months in default.

The Supreme Court judge, Vui Clarence Nelson, says the humiliation and suffering of the defendant's family from the case, as well as being a first offender, does not save him from the seriousness of the offences he had committed because of breach of trust.

Fepulea'i is suffering from debilitating gout which the court took into account.

Justice Clarence says the poor conditions of the two major prisons would not help the defendant's medical care if a custodial sentence was imposed.