1 Jul 2011

Prosecution of Marshall Islands fraud cases moves forward

1:53 pm on 1 July 2011

A judge in the Marshall Islands has declared there is good cause to move to trial on fraud charges against two finance ministry officials.

The ruling moves forward the government's prosecution of workers charged with stealing money from United States federal grants.

Cases against Nella Nashion and Steve Samuel allege they were involved in defrauding the government by issuing cheques to a local business, which did not provide any services or products in return.

Mr Samuel is charged with grand larceny, conspiracy and other counts relating to a 19,000 US dollar government cheque, while Nella Nashion is charged with 17 counts relating to five cheques totalling 80,000 dollars.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

Three of six government workers so far charged in relation to the theft of half a million dollars will be going to trial.

Hearings will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the others.