3 Sep 2019

Samoa govt to continue to pursue tax case against church

2:34 pm on 3 September 2019

The tax evasion cases against leaders of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa are not going away despite a court decision to dismiss charges laid against more than 30 ministers.

Congregational Christian Church of Samoa pastors

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

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said the government planned to pursue the church ministers individually in court.

Tuilaepa's comments come after last week's decision by the District Court to dismiss charges against a group of 19 ministers because of a lack of evidence.

In July the court dismissed charges against a separate group of 20 ministers.

Tuilaepa told Newsline Samoa charging the ministers as a group was a conscientious attempt not to embarrass their dignity by

serving each with a court summons.

Initially the ministers were all served summons individually, but their lawyer requested the charges be heard as a group, which was granted.

The CCCS is the only church boycotting the recently introduced law requiring ministers to be taxed on gifts from their congregations.

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