Court dis­misses charges against 19 Samoan church min­is­ters

Fiji Sun - - Pacific News - Feed­back: Samoa Ob­server nemani.delaibatik­[email protected]­

Apia: Tax-re­lated charges against 19 more Min­is­ters of the Con­gre­ga­tional Chris­tian Church of Samoa (CCCS) were dis­missed by the District Court yesterday.

The de­ci­sion de­liv­ered by Judge Leota Ray­mond Schuster, fol­lowed an ap­pli­ca­tion by the Min­istry of Rev­enue, to with­draw two charges against each de­fen­dant on the ba­sis that there was no ev­i­dence.

Each church min­is­ter was charged with two counts of with­hold­ing tax and fail­ure to file tax.

De­fence lawyer, Alex Su’a, then filed an ap­pli­ca­tion to have the charges against the church min­is­ters dis­missed. Judge Leota granted the ap­pli­ca­tion and dis­missed the charges.

The min­is­ters are: Aila Patea, Ailepata Leuta, Anoai Fale­tu­tulu, Falenuu Ta­gataese, Fale­taua Faaea, Feata Pere­lini, Fu­atai Si­manu, Iaeva Mi­tai, Iak­ina Ale­faio, Iosefa Uile­lea, Keleko­lio Sanele, Keneti Leau­pepe, Kereta Fuafiva, Le­tone Uili, Toalua Perese, Siaosi Moananu, Sa­muelu Limuaa, Nomeneta Si­manu and Mo­tuga Matagi.

Out­side Court, CCCS chair­per­son Rev­erend Elder Tunumoso Iosia, ac­knowl­edged God’s guid­ance and thanked the church.

“We had given this be­fore the Lord and he is the one supreme Judge whom we an­swer to,” said Rev­erend Elder Tunumoso.

This is the sec­ond group of CCCS church min­is­ters fac­ing tax charges, who have had the charges against them, dis­missed.

The first group of 20 church min­is­ters had their case dis­missed in July when pros­e­cu­tion failed to iden­tify the de­fen­dants as Min­is­ters of re­li­gion.

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