29 Aug 2019

Church hopes PM accepts court dismissal of tax charges

1:49 pm on 29 August 2019

The general secretary of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa has welcomed the dismissal of tax evasion charges against ministers of his church and says he hopes it's the end of the legal wrangle.

Congregational Christian Church of Samoa pastors

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

On Wednesday the District Court dismissed all charges against a second group of 19 ministers from the church.

The Ministry of Customs and Revenue asked the court for the charges to be withdrawn because of a lack of evidence.

Last month the court dismissed charges against the first group of 20 ministers.

Church General Secretary, Reverend Vavatau Taufao, said the result was good news.

"I also think back of what the Prime Minister said to our National Council of Churches, that whatever the outcome of the court case will be, that will be. I think this is, given the outcome of the first lot, the dismissal, so I am quite thankful."

Another group of ministers facing the same charges will be called next week, with the Attorney General prosecuting the case.

The charges stem from a new law which makes it compulsory for church ministers to pay taxes on the monetary gifts they receive from their congregations.

The CCCS voted in its annual general conference to boycott the law.

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