Pastors wife jailed for 2 and a half years for theft
By Unumoe Esera
APIA: Thursday 19 July 2012: Amelia Siaosi, a pastor’s wife of the Good Samaritan church at Vaivase- uta was sentenced to two and a half years at Tafaigata prison after she was found guilty of 44 counts of theft and forgery.
The decision was delivered by Justice Lesatele Rapi Vaai. According to the summary of facts Amelia, 38 years old stole a substantial amount of money from her former employer South Pacific Business Development (SPBD) Group. The court heard that the Defendant had made fake passports and had forged customer signatures as well as the Manager of the company’s signature.
In final submissions, counsel for the Defendant Rosella Papalii Viane cited the case of HJ Moors for forgery. Justice Vaai said this was not the first time that the case had been cited and facts of that case were totally different to this matter. He stated that in this matter it was “not qualified to be sophisticated but it was both time consuming and expensive.”
He stated that the sentence for this particular matter was “imposed to deter the defendant and others who are like minded”
“Theft as a servant is on the rise,” said Justice Vaai. He stated that the Defendant as a pastor’s wife had shown no remorse whatsoever.
He also mentioned that the Defendant in her testimony had called two lawyers and senior officer of SPBD liars and conspirators and therefore was not satisfied with her evidence.
Prosecution requested a prison term of not less than three years. Justice Vaai said the sentence would be determined by these factors,the prevalence of this offense in the community, the meditation and methods used to carry out the offense.
He also said SPBD would not be able to recover the stolen funds and a great breach of trust had occurred as a result of the Defendant’s actions.
The Defendant is a first time offender. She has three children. She obtained a Diploma in Accounting from the University of the South Pacific in 1998. She had been working for SPBD for four years as a senior officer. She was sentenced to two and a half years for the multiple counts of forgery and also two and a half years for theft to be served concurrently.