FSM Information Services
FSM Government Charges Department of Finance & Administration Employee with Conflict of Interest, Theft, Money Laundering, & Unauthorized Possession or Removal of Property
PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On March 24th, 2023, the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) filed criminal charges against an employee of the FSM Department of Finance & Administration, Sylvia Edward, due to alleged criminal conduct in violation of: conflict of interest in violation of Title 11, Section 512; theft in violation Title 11, Sector 602; money laundering in violation of Title 11, Section 918; and unauthorized possession or removal of property. As in any criminal proceeding, Defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The initial appearance and bail hearings were held on March 24th, 2023. During the initial appearance, the Defendant waived the reading of both constitutional rights and the criminal charges. After the initial appearance, the parties presented their respective recommendations on pretrial release. The FSM Government recommended an unsecured appearance bond of $50,000 with pretrial release terms and conditions.
The conditions include: the Defendant, who has already surrendered her passport, shall not apply for a new passport, nor shall seek to change her name to apply for a passport; the Defendant shall not leave the State of Pohnpei unless permission is obtained from the Supreme Court; the Defendant shall appear at all future proceedings in the criminal matter; the Justice Ombudsman shall monitor any change in address or residence; the Defendant shall not access any bank account at any financial institution, nor shall the Defendant negotiate any check or other financial instrument, unless permission is first obtained from the Court; the Defendant shall not speak to otherwise communicate with any individual who is currently employed by the FSM National Government within the Department of Finance & Administration, nor shall the Defendant personally communicate with any individual who may be a witness in this case, but shall instead defer to her counsel who may communicate with any individual who might be employed by the FSM National Government and/or called as a witness in this matter; and not to violate any national, state, or municipal laws, regulations, official proclamations, or ordinances.
Within a two-week-period, parties are expected to submit to the FSM Supreme Court the pretrial schedule for consideration and approval.
This release represents the entirety of public-facing commentary the Executive Branch will make on this issue until such a time that the criminal case at the FSM Supreme Court concludes.