FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Former Peace Corps Niger Cashier Found Guilty of Theft and Embezzlement
Washington, D.C., February 7, 2012 - The Peace Corps Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced today that former Peace Corps/Niger Cashier Koffi Fiayowife Ametefe was found guilty of charges related to fraud and embezzlement of Peace Corps funds by a magistrate court in Niamey, Niger. Ametefe was sentenced to one year imprisonment, a fine, and ordered to pay full restitution, plus interest, of the embezzled funds.
The ruling capped a long running investigation, which stemmed from a 2007 OIG audit that documented Ametefe had embezzled or stolen approximately $41,000 from PC/Niger operations. The allegations first surfaced when the PC/Niger administrative officer found irregularities in Ametefes books. Ametefe denied any wrongdoing but shortly thereafter stole contents from a PC/Niger safe and then fled to Togo.
In April 2010, OIG received a tip that Ametefe had returned to Niger. OIG special agents verified the tip, met with the Director of the Niger National Judiciary Police (NNJP), and worked with both the U.S. Embassys Regional Security Office in Niamey and PC/Niger to file a formal criminal complaint. Based on the complaint, Ametefe was arrested and detained by the NNJP. On February 6, 2012, Ametefe was found guilty as charged in the complaint.
Inspector General Kathy A. Buller noted that the stewardship of U.S. taxpayer dollars is a top priority for the Peace Corps. Ametefe violated the trust that every Peace Corps staff member should uphold. OIG will continue to be persistent and unrelenting in its pursuit of violators of the Peace Corps trust and will support local law enforcement efforts to ensure justice is served.
OIG commends the actions of NNJP and appreciates the cooperation of the Peace Corps Offices of Safety and Security and General Counsel; PC/Niger; the U.S. State Departments Diplomatic Security Service and its Regional Security Office in Niamey; and the U.S. Department of Justices Office of Foreign Litigation in supporting the prosecution of this matter.
About the Peace Corps OIG: Through audits, evaluations, and investigations, the Peace Corps OIG provides independent oversight of agency programs and operations in support of the goals set forth in the Peace Corps Act while making the best use of taxpayer dollars. Established in February 1989, OIG receives its legal authority from the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended.
About the Peace Corps: Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agencys mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.
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