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Church funds spent at casino

21 September 2017

Church funds spent at casino


An employee of the Samoan Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church (SISDAC) has had name suppression lifted and has been sentenced in a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecution.

Elizabeth Papu (52) faced two charges of ‘Theft by person in special relationship’ relating to approximately $1.6 million of offending while she was finance administrator of the Northern Division of SISDAC.

Appearing in the Manukau District Court today, Ms Papu’s name suppression was lifted. Ms Papu was charged in February this year and in May pleaded guilty to all charges. Today she was sentenced to two years, nine months’ imprisonment.

Ms Papu admitted she took money from the church without authorisation and manipulated the financial records of the church to hide her actions. Ms Papu stole from the church in order to fund her gambling habit.

SFO Director, Julie Read said, “Ms Papu had full responsibility for the church’s bank accounts. That authority to record transactions and reconcile bank statements allowed her to manipulate the church’s financial records and disguise her theft. The absence of any segregation of duties or oversight in respect of Ms Papu’s role created the opportunity for her to misappropriate the church’s funds.”

ENDS

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