Mwoakilloa Treasurer charged with alleged theft of over $13,000
- Category: News
- Published: Monday, 23 January 2017 09:37
- Written by Bill Jaynes
- Hits: 853
By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
January 13, 2016
Pohnpei, FSM—Deetor Lebehn, has plead “not guilty” to charges related to the alleged theft of over $13,000 from the Mwoakilloa government while he served as treasurer there.
A May letter to Chief Magistrate Mason Henry from the Office of the Public Auditor said that Henry visited the office of OPA in February asking them to look into why there was only $85 in the Mwoakilloa operating account at the Bank of the FSM. He wanted to know also why there was on $7 in its project account at the same bank. He told the auditor that vendors were calling seeking payment for outstanding bill the government simply didn’t have the money to pay.
Pohnpei OPA conducted a complete review of financial transactions from fiscal year 2013 through the first quarter of fiscal year 2016. According to OPA’s management report, over $11,000 of total were for 60 checks written to the treasurer. $4,126.48 was for “salary purposes”. $3,656.70 was for travel reimbursements. $1,412.00 was for car repair reimbursement, and $1,158.15 was for “other expenses”. In addition to those checks there was one for $3,000 for Lebehn to participate in a Nigerian internet scam. As happens in those cases, that money was totally lost.
There were several other problems at the municipality including employee charges for fuel that were never repaid and several other irregularities but Lebehn’s alleged offenses were sufficient for OPA to recommend prosecution.
The government filed a criminal information at the court listing 40 separate charges for individual acts many of them similar but for different instances of alleged criminal activity.
Prosecutors say that a trial date has not yet been set and that there is some consideration for a change of venue because most of the witnesses are in Mwoakilloa.
Lebehn has pled “not guilty” and is considered to be innocent unless proven to be otherwise.