Accounts clerk gets suspended sentence for misappropriation

An accounts clerk formerly employed at the Elcress Agra Products Limited has had her sentence suspended after she agreed to reimburse the money she stole.

Didine Nishai received an end sentence of 13 months imprisonment suspended for three years after the Supreme Court found that she has culpability to repay more than VT520,000 she stole during her employment with Elcress Agra Products Limited as their accounts clerk from 2008 to 2009.

During her sentence the court ordered a residue order to pay VT20,000 every month, starting at the end of March.

Justice Stephen Felix said the brief facts of the case showed that on October 15, 2009 the owners of the company lodged a complaint against Nishai for misappropriating the amount in their company between January to August 2009.

He said Nishai was given the opportunity to be heard by the then employer where she admitted that she had been stealing from the company since 2008.

The internal investigation by the company’s accounts supervisor and also by the police confirmed that Nishai had been altering the company’s cheques by adding extra figures and credited it to her personal accounts for personal use.

Justice Felix said Nishai entered a not guilty plea on 12 counts of misappropriation counts laid against her on July 28, 2016.

He said in October 12, 2018, she changed her pleas to guilty admitting all counts she was facing.

Misappropriation under section 125 (b) of the Penal Code [CAP 135] carries a maximum penalty of 12 years imprisonment.

On the aggravating factors before determining the starting point of the case, Justice Felix said the court has considered the amount misappropriated, the breach of trust by Nishai as an accounts clerk with her employer, the repetition of the offence over seven months and the financial loss caused to the complainants.

He said the mitigation factors disclosed that Nishai is a former VIT student with a certificate of accounting and is currently employed by Civil Aviation as a Finance Officer.

The woman agreed to repay the fund misappropriated and she is an active member of her community and her church as recommended by her pastor, chief and husband.

The judge said the victims only requested the amount to be reimbursed.

After his assessment, Justice Felix adopted a starting point of 14 months imprisonment to be served concurrently for all 12 counts of misappropriation.

He then reduced the sentence to a month after considering the guilty plea but not at the earliest opportunity which reduced the sentence to an end sentence of 13 months behind bars.

He then suspended the sentence for three years on grounds that Nishai is capable of repaying the former employer.

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