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Early release hearing for former customs officer continued after confusion on motion surfaces

Former Customs Office supervisor, Sefulu Maifea

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Chief Justice Michael Kruse has continued the hearing for Sefulu Maifea’s motion for early release, to allow the him and his defense team to provide more meaningful information to support their motion.

Former Customs Office supervisor Sefulu Maifea, who is serving 28 months detention at the TCF after breaching the trust of the American Samoa Government (ASG) when he embezzled government funds, appeared in High Court last Friday for a Probation review hearing.

Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill represented Maifea, while prosecuting the case was Assistant Attorney General Christy Dunn.

At the hearing there was some confusion as to what exactly Maifea was asking for — a Probation review or Probation modification, i.e. an early release.

When asked by Kruse, McNeill said Maifea is asking for work release.

Kruse asked Maifea if he had a job offer. Maifea said yes, he received a job offer from Ford.

“I don’t have anything from Ford in front of me right now,” Kruse said.

Maifea said he gave all the paperwork to the Watch Commander, who assured him that he would forward everything to the court for review.

“Watch Commander doesn’t work for me, he works for Lolo,” Kruse said.

Kruse told McNeill and his client to make sure they provide all the needed information from Ford to the court. Furthermore, make sure the job offer meets the requirements for restitution.

The court advised the defense team to put together everything they need to file, before putting the case back on the court’s calendar.