18 Jul 2018

Elders from Samoa's CCCS will no longer respond to tax decision

9:48 am on 18 July 2018

The general secretary of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa, Vavatau Taufao, says church elders will no longer respond to the government's decision to tax money gifted by church members to church ministers.

Samoan Congregational Christian Church parishioners

Samoan Congregational Christian Church parishioners Photo: RNZI.Monica Miller

The secretary's statement follows Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi's criticism of the church after meeting with a delegation of elders several weeks ago.

The delegation explained in the meeting the reasons behind the unanimous decision of the church's general assembly to oppose the tax.

But Tuilaepa said the refusal would not be tolerated, warning laws were in place that allowed assets to be seized and bank accounts frozen.

Reverend Vavatau said the annual conference of the church would next discuss the decision whether or not to withdraw opposition in May next year.

It was not his duty or role to respond to the government, he said, but he would if church elders decided that he should.

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