EFKS Church Ministers Request Transfer to Supreme Court


19 February 2019, Apia Samoa. Legal counsel representing EFKS church ministers requested for the matter to be transfered to the Supreme Court because his clients were raising issues pertaining to the Constitution and Tax legislation.

Responding to Samoa Global News questions, Su’a said that it is only fitting the matter be referred to the Supreme Court.

“The application is basically asking the District Court Judge, that since we are raising issues pertaining to the Constitution and other serious questions about the tax law, the law stipulates that the matter shall then be referred to the Supreme Court,” he explained.

In house lawyers for the Ministry of Revenue Avila Ah Leong and Alesana Tumua objected to the application to transfer the matter of 20 church ministers to the Supreme Court, made before District Court Judge, Leota Raymond Schuster.

“We have actually responded to this application under 138 in our submission and we do want to highly object to this transfer of matters before the Supreme Court,” said Ms. Ah Leong.

Judge Leota has set the matter for hearing on the issue of referral to the Supreme Court for the 1st of March 2019.

Judge Leota also informed Counsels on both sides that he would be the presiding Judge over the EFKS Church tax matter, as Judge Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma and Judge Papalii Rosella Viane have both declared conflicts of interest with one or more of the 20 faifeau facing charges.

Each church minister is facing two counts of failure to withhold tax and failure to file wage tax returns.

The list of church ministers is as follows:

1. Tautiaga Senara
2. Tunumoso Iosia
3. Faasalafa Vitaoa
4. Faaiuga Matautia
5. Faraimo Ti’iti’I,
6. Fili Matalavea,
7. Fuaao Fuimaono,
8. Iese Uele,
9. Ioane Petaia,
10. Lavilavi Soloi,
11. Amosa Reupena,
12. Elefatu Lesa
13. Poasa Toiaivao,
14. Petaia Leavai,
15. Pita Toleafoa,
16. Siaosi Salesulu,
17. Seilala Luamanuvae,
18. Semikueva Faatoafe
19. Taise Ioapo.
20. Tavita Anesone