A FORMER Judicial Department revenue collector convicted of 10 counts of embezzlement has been warned against reoffending in the next three years or spend eight months in prison.
Ashwini Lata, 31, was emotional when Justice Paul Madigan handed her a suspended sentence in the High Court in Suva yesterday.
The court heard Lata was employed by the department to collect fines, maintenance payments and other sundry payments in the Civil Registry of the Magistrates Court.
According to court proceedings, these monies were receipted, accounted for and deposited in the bank using bank lodgment forms. Unfortunately, it was not noticed that from October 2006 to January 2010, Lata embezzled $1700.
"Embezzlement by an employee is a classic breach of trust and that being so, it has long been regarded by the courts both here and in other common law jurisdictions that such criminality should lead to an inevitable term of imprisonment," Justice Madigan said.
"Theft of monies from government funds by an employee in the course of his or her employment is a very serious matter indeed, and the authorities establish a tariff of immediate imprisonment of between 18 months and three years." Justice Madigan then ordered that the $1700 paid into court on March 18, be kept and receipted as restitution of funds in favour of the Consolidated Fund.