6 Jan 2011

Fourth person charged in Marshalls government fraud case

7:09 pm on 6 January 2011

A fourth person has been charged in connection with a scheme to defraud the Marshall Islands government of tens of thousands of dollars.

Government investigators say more than a million US dollars may have been stolen in about the last five years by a crime ring involving numerous government employees in different ministries.

A businessman David Chin Tung Lin was charged with nine criminal counts on Wednesday.

Two Ministry of Finance employees have so far been charged, along with two people in the private sector.

But our correspondent Giff Johnson says more people are likely to be charged in relation to the fraud, which involved claiming for goods or services which weren't provided.

"The startling thing about the charges is that the audits done on government finances over the last many years have repeatedly pointed out problems in the procurement section of the government. And so now people are finding out that by not fixing them they weren't putting in the internal controls to prevent this sort of thing from happening."

Giff Johnson says there have been calls for heads to roll over the widespread fraud.