Friday, April 18, 2003

State employee is
indicted for alleged theft

By Debra Barayuga

A state Judiciary employee has been indicted for allegedly stealing state property valued at more than $300 from his workplace.

Solomon Batoon, a driver's education officer and at one time acting administrator for the Judiciary's Driver Education Division, was charged Wednesday with two counts of second-degree theft that allegedly occurred in 1998.

Between May 1 and May 31, 1998, Batoon allegedly took driver's education handbooks from the state program, sold them to a private company and kept the money for himself without repaying the state, said Deputy Attorney General Joann Ha'o.

Also, between March 1 and March 30, 1998, Batoon is accused of conducting business with Amfac Sugar on Kauai, charging the company for driver's education workbooks.

On two occasions, Amfac paid for the workbooks but Batoon kept the payments, Ha'o said.

The Driver's Education Division does not conduct driver's education classes for private entities, said Marsha Kitagawa, spokeswoman for the Judiciary.

Batoon, who still works for the Judiciary and has worked in the Driver's Education Division at District Court for the past 10 years, could not be reached yesterday for comment.

Ha'o told the court that a search of Batoon's residence uncovered evidence of gambling and frequent off-island travel.

Circuit Judge Dan Kochi set bail at $2,000.


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