In July, over $6,000 Palau Public Utility Corporation (PPUC) money was reported to be missing, the Criminal Investigation Division has now registered a case of theft against a PPUC employee.
Jesse Edward who works at PPUC plead not guilty in his arraignment on August 20 and is out on bail of $500 after he was arrested a day prior his arraignment.
Edward has been charged with Theft of Government Property in First Degree and the court has set September 12 as a date for pretrial setting conference.
The theft was investigated after a complaint was registered by the PPUC business manager Torual Gibbons.
In the last interview with Island Times, Gibbons said, “We collect money from Peleliu on weekly basis from the customers receiving PPUC services. Unfortunately, this time the money did not reach PPUC.”
The stolen money was in the form of cash amount of $1,300 and the rest were bank checks. Gibbons said every customer who paid via check was notified to cancel their check.
According to CID Detective Lebuu Gibbons, the money placed in manila envelope was delivered to Edward by the Peleliu State Boat employee.
However, Edward failed to deliver the money or the manila envelope to PPUC. In the course of the police investigation, state boat employee positively identified Edward.
When the police approached Edward, he denied taking the money and told the officials that the money should have been delivered in money pouch.
Detective Gibbons under oath said, “Defendant [Jesse Edward] stated he could not stay to be interviewed and took a blank police statement form to fill out and return. Defendant never returned the statement.”
PPUC Business manager Gibbons attempted to get in touch with Edward several times as Edward was responsible to pick up the manila envelope, however, there was no response.
Edward later produced a doctor’s note stating he was ill that afternoon but a follow up by the police revealed that the note was forged.
Acting PPUC CEO Ngirtmetuchl Belechel had a meeting with Edward and Gibbons on July 11 in which Edward stated he went to the dock in the morning to collect the money but the boat was not there. Edward told the CEO that he left to do some errands, returned to the dock and the boat had still not arrived.
Edward also revealed that in the afternoon he saw the money pouch used to transport money to and from Peleliu at the PPUC office so he took the pouch to the dock and gave it to a government employee on the boat.
Detective Gibbons spoke with Edward again on July 22 where stated that he was instructed to collect the payment on July 10 by another PPUC employee Marisa but when he reached the dock, he was told that there was no payment.
Edward stated that as there was no money, he went about his errands and returned to PPUC. He later saw the money pouches that were to go back to Peleliu, so he took them to the dock but stopped at the store on the way. While at the store, he stated, he gave the pouches to Amos to take to the dock.
Detective Gibbons identified Amos as Amos Mitsuo and when Mitsuo was interviewed he stated that Edward arrived outside the Koror State Office in a white X-Trail and asked Mitsuo to deliver a green pouch to the Peleliu State Boat, which he did. Mitsuo further stated that he did not see Edward in the store. (By Eshan Kalyanikar)