20 EFKS Church Ministers Plead Not Guilty

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11 April, 2019 Apia Samoa. Twenty church ministers of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (EFKS) pleaded not guilty to charges against them before District Court Judge Leota Raymond Schuster this morning.

Each Minister faces two charges; one of failure to withhold tax and one of failure to file a wage tax return.

Defense Counsel Alex Su’a made another application to the Court to withdraw the application to quash and stay proceedings.

“Your honour, in our recent letter on the 3rd of April to the Registrar we advised the Court and made an application to withdraw the application to quash and stay proceedings and in that case the defendants are in the position to enter a plea;

“All the defendants enter a plea of not guilty to all the charges,” said Su’.

Counsel representing the Ministry of Revenue, Avila Ah Leong requested an early hearing date, however, Mr. Su’a asked the Court for a hearing date to be set after the “fonotele” World Conference for the EFKS in May.

Judge Leota then set the 1st of July 2019 for a 2- day hearing.

The church ministers accused are: Tautiaga Senara, Tunumoso Iosia, Faasalafa Vitaoa, Faaiuga Matautia, Faraimo Tiitii, Fili Matalavea Fuaao Fuimaono, Iese Uele, Ioane Petaia, Lavilavi Soloi, Amosa Reupena, Elefatu Lesa, Poasa Toiaivao, Petaia Leavai, Pita Toleafoa, Siaosi Salesulu, Seilala Luamanuvae, Semikueva Faatoafa, Taise Ioapo and Tavita Anisone.


Deidre Fanene