5 Mar 2019

Samoa LTA assistant CEO found guilty, legal division head walks free

4:40 pm on 5 March 2019

The Samoa Land Transport Authority's suspended assistant CEO, Mata'afa Sepelini Poufa, has been found guilty of six criminal charges.

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Photo: 123rf

The charges include two counts of altering with intent to deceive and four counts of using altered documents.

It was the result of a police investigation against into tampering with date information for certain vehicles on the LTA electronic system.

This relates to a cabinet directive of January 2018 for all commercial vehicles more than 15 years old such as taxis and buses can no longer be re-registered as commercial but instead register as privates.

However, the lawyer and manager of the authority's legal division, Anoanoa'i Pepe Lafai, has walked free from six counts each of forgery, altering, destroying, and concealing documents.

Ms Lafai, a New Zealand born Samoan, spoke after the ruling.

"I apologise for being emotional. This has been a very overwhelming and stressful time for me. These charges were very malicious. But thank God, praise God. And I think that's al I'll say for now. Justice was served. Truth and justice always prevail."

Anoanoa'i Pepe Lafai thanked her lawyer and family for their support, particularly her parents who travelled to Samoa to support her.

The verdict by justice, Mata Keli Tuatagaloa, was delivered yesterday after a trial held in November last year.

The judge said police could not provide evidence beyond reasonable doubt to prove allegations against Ms Lafai.

The court sentence for the guilty verdict against the assistant CEO is set for next month.