4 Feb 2014

Theft charges in Samoa Airport Authority case

4:27 pm on 4 February 2014

A former accounts officer for the Samoa Airport Authority is standing trial on 70 charges of theft as a public servant involving 26,000 US dollars of airport taxes and car park fees.

Lee Apineru had left the country for New Zealand two years ago after an audit investigation found misappropriation of funds in the Authority's operation.

An internal audit investigation found money from landing fees, airport taxes, vehicle parking fees and the use of the airport's facilities were misappropriated.

The auditor who conducted the investigation told the court Mr Apineru left Samoa after he was questioned over the missing funds.

The defendant is charged as a co-defendant after the court in 2012 had found another former employee - the Financial Controller, Muli'agatele Rapi Tevaga - guilty of thirty counts of theft involving 15,000 US dollars of the Authority's money.