Former hotel employee convicted of theft and accounting fraud

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Tanoa International Dateline in Tonga. Photo/Kalino Lātū

A Tongatapu woman who stole $21, 299.00  pa’anga from her former employer was convicted of her offences.

Selemana Fonua was guilty of false accounting and theft after the Supreme Court found she falsified documents namely spreadsheets with false names contrary to section 159 (a) of Criminal Offence Acts.

Judge Charles Cato convicted Fonua on January 19 on both charges and will be sentenced for those indictments later.

Mr. Cato said Fonua altered or falsified the Tanoa Hotels (Tonga) Limited’s payroll spreadsheet without its authorization.

Seventeen occasions found to have taken place between 22 May and 11 December 2015, a court document said.

Mr Cato said: “I consider also that, during this period, beyond any reasonable doubt she entered into this pattern of deceit so as to steal the proceeds of the inflated cheques for wages that were drawn by Tanoa during this period.”

The judge said each of the spreadsheets contained false names.

“The inference, I draw beyond reasonable doubt, was that the accused pursued this pattern of conduct so as to obtain the cash represented by the inclusion of the “ghost names”,” it said.

“Accordingly, I find beyond any reasonable doubt that, being employed as an administration officer for Tanoa Hotels (Tonga) Limited, she knowingly took the sum of $21, 299.00 ….. which was the proceeds of cheques drawn by Tanoa to meet wages and  fraudulently or dishonestly and without colour of right applied this to the use of another namely for her own use and enjoyment without the permission of her employer Tanoa.”

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