APIA, 19 JUNE 2017 (SAMOA OBSERVER)—-The Samoa Police are hunting for missing government money.

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A total of $50,000 (US$19,680) was removed from the safe located inside the main office of the Samoa Land Corporation (SLC) at Vaitele.

 

This was confirmed by the Acting Police Assistant Commissioner, Sala’a Moananu, in response to questions from Samoa Observer.

 

He said the matter was reported to the Police on 3 June 2017.

 

“According to the report provided by the Criminal Investigation Division, the matter was reported to the police around 4pm from the SLC office in Vaitele,” he said.

 

The missing amount includes cheques.

 

The matter was initially reported to the Faleata Police post. The CID. was contacted to take over the investigation.

 

Sala’a said the police have ruled out the possibility that it was a burglary incident.

 

“Police officers have taken photos and have been to every door and window.”

 

It is evident there is no sign of forced entry into the building to indicate that this was burglary.”

 

According to Sala’a three employees of SLC have been questioned by the Police.

 

“In the meantime, the SLC has requested for their auditors to conduct an internal investigation into the books,” he said.

 

A report will be given to the police upon completion. But that will not stop the police from continuing their investigation.”

 

“This case is a priority.”

 

He added that having the auditors would assist the police.

 

“The IO [Investigating Officer] says this is a significant amount and the money was put into the money safe between 2pm to 4pm.

 

“We are suspecting the money was borrowed from SLC. and it was put back into a safe and the same day it was stolen.”

 

The Assistant Commissioner pointed out that “the missing funds is government money and the police will exhort all options” to find it.

 

Asked if the police suspect that this was an inside job, and Acting Assistant Commissioner responded, “I cannot say it’s an inside job given that they are looking at suspects outside of the SLC.”

 

Contacted for a comment, SLC’s Chief Executive Officer, Ulugia Petelo Kavesi, could not confirm or deny the report.

 

“I cannot confirm, and I cannot comment. I’ll have to wait for the report from police on their findings,” he said. …PACNEWS

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