Pregnant mum jailed for embezzlement of $47,521 from Tonga Power

A pregnant mother-of-one has been sent to prison for embezzlement of her employer’s fund.

Tupou Seluini Tahilanu

Tupou Seluini Tahilanu, 28, was working at Tonga Power Ltd’s office in Tofoa from February to April 2022 when she stole $47,521.68.

She pleaded guilty on 15 September 2023 to the single count of embezzlement.

Her jobs included collecting payments from Tonga Power’s customers and depositing them into the company’s bank accounts.  

She dishonestly took some of the money from two payments made by two supermarkets in 2022.

Tahilanu had paid back $32,000 while the company’s insurer paid them $45,021.68.

The court was told she deeply regretted what happened and was remorseful.  

She was married with a two-year-old son and was expecting their second child.  A probation report recommended  fully suspending her sentence.

However, Justice Cooper said imprisonment was unavoidable and he sentenced her to 18-months’ imprisonment with the final six-months suspended for two-years on conditions.

He ordered that Tahilanu must not carry out any form of hard labour due to her pregnancy.

“Within 48 hours of her admission to prison she is to be taken to Vaini Hospital to be assessed by in the ante natal clinic.

In addition, the Governor of HM Prison at Hu’atolitoli, within seven-days thereafter, is to be provided with a medical assessment as to how she is to be best cared for and a full series of follow up appointments arranged.”

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