Maluia formally charged
The Attorney General’s office has served former Customs Officer Francis Maluia with a criminal summons, on a single count of Interference with Customs Officer’s Duties, a class A misdemeanor which carries a jail term of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.
Maluia of Nu’uuli, who has been with Customs for 11 years, was served yesterday with the summons and he’s scheduled to appear before the District Court on October 8, 2013.
According to the government’s case, Captain Pierre Clemens was assigned to investigate the allegations against Maluia who allegedly removed a parcel from the post office without proper due process on April 3, 2013.
Clemens heads the Department of Public Safety’s Internal Affairs Division. Court filings say the leading investigator in this case spoke to the Customs Officer at the Post Office about the day in question. It’s alleged that Customs Officers Rene Malepeai and David Ta’ala informed police that Maluia came to the post office while in uniform and claimed a box addressed to a “Baby Bee from a Kalua.” Court filings further say that Maluia claimed he was picking up the package for a nephew.
It’s further alleged that Malepeai told Maluia that the box needed to be inspected because it was sniffed and subsequently tagged by the canine unit for inspection, however Maluia allegedly refused to surrender the box, stating it only contained clothes.
“Malepeai told defendant two more times to surrender the box for inspection, but defendant did not surrender the box.” The government further claims that Malepeai asked for the third time and Maluia did not surrender the box rather, he “only partially opened it while cradling the box in one arm saying, ‘It’s just clothes’.”
It’s alleged Maluia then left the post office without surrendering the parcel for inspection. Court filings say the lead investigator also interviewed a Post Office Clerk who confirmed the incident. The government claims during the investigation it was found that the PO Box the package had been sent to did not belong to Maluia.
It was also learned the address from which the package had been sent, does not belong to a person named Kalua.
“The exact address in Washington either belongs to a Church’s Chicken Restaurant or to an open lot between the restaurant and a gas station.
As reported in Thursday’s edition, Maluia was served with a termination letter as of last Friday and was given three days to respond. Samoa News understands Maluia, instead of responding to the termination letter, submitted a resignation letter. Treasurer Dr Falema’o Phil Pili, in response to Samoa News queries, stated he will not honor the resignation letter, but will follow through with the termination.