A pay supervisor at a Tanoa hotel who stole $21,299. 00 pa’anga over a seven-month period to finance a luxurious lifestyle for herself had been jailed for two years.

Selemana Fonua, 40, who had worked for the hotel when she was 38 had dishonestly manufactured a false spreadsheet which included the names of a number of fictitious or “ghost” employees thereby inflating the wages bill for Tanoa (Tonga).

By ghost employees, the judge meant employees who  were not entitled to wages during the relevant period.

The court heard Fonua did not accept that she was guilty of any wrongdoing.

She suggested that others were responsible for the fraud, although Mr. Cato said she did not give any evidence herself or advance evidence to support it.

Justice Cato said he considered the starting point of two years and six months adopted by Paulsen CJ to be appropriate in Fonua’s case.

Mr. Cato took into consideration Ms Fonua’s persistent offending over the period, her disregard of her employer’s trust as well as her refusal to accept responsibility,

The final six months of her sentence of two years imprisonment was suspended on the condition that she committed no further offences punishable by imprisonment during her suspension.

Mr. Cato made no order for restitution.

“None was sought and I have no evidence that Ms Fonua is able to repay any part of the sum stolen, in any event.

“On the falsification charge, she is sentenced to 2 years imprisonment to be served concurrently with her sentence on the theft charge.”