FSM Department of Finance & Administration Employee Faces Multiple Criminal Charges

NDOE Press – The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) has brought criminal charges against an employee of the FSM Department of Finance & Administration, Sylvia Edward, for alleged criminal conduct. Edward has been charged with conflict of interest, theft, money laundering, and unauthorized possession or removal of property. The charges are in violation of Title 11, Sections 512, 602, and 918. The FSM Government has emphasized that, as in any criminal proceeding, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The initial appearance and bail hearings were held on March 24th, 2023, during which Edward waived the reading of both constitutional rights and the criminal charges. The parties then 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 for pretrial release include Edward surrendering her passport, not leaving the State of Pohnpei without permission from the Supreme Court, and not accessing any bank account at any financial institution or negotiating any check or other financial instrument without the Court’s approval. Edward is also not permitted to communicate with any individual who is currently employed by the FSM National Government within the Department of Finance & Administration or any individual who may be a witness in this case. Instead, she must defer to her counsel for such communications.

Both parties are expected to submit the pretrial schedule to the FSM Supreme Court within a two-week period for consideration and approval. The FSM Government has stated that this release represents the entirety of public-facing commentary the Executive Branch will make on this issue until the conclusion of the criminal case at the FSM Supreme Court.

Source: FSM Information Services