4 Jul 2019

Tax case against Samoan church ministers dismissed

1:07 pm on 4 July 2019

A Samoan court has thrown out a case against 20 pastors from the country's largest church, who were charged with tax evasion.

Congregational Christian Church of Samoa pastors

Congregational Christian Church of Samoa pastors Photo: RNZ Pacific /Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

The Congregational Christian Church has been in a feud with the government for a year, after a new law was passed requiring ministers to pay income tax, which ministers are refusing to pay.

This morning, the district court threw out the case, saying the prosecution did not have enough evidence for it to proceed.

Defence lawyers had argued that the prosecution has been unable to identify the defendants.

One of the lawyers, Alex Su'a, said the new laws should never have been passed.

"They give to our faifeaus [priests and ministers] as representatives of God, so this is not just an Efakesa [EFKS Congregational Christian Church] case against government, this is everyone's."

The trial of another group of 19 ministers who have also been charged is scheduled for next month.

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