Foreign investors with criminal record warned

By Joyetter Feagaimaali'i

A foreign investor who was previously convicted of an offence abroad will not be allowed to register a business in Samoa. 

That is the response by the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labor (MCIL), when it was asked to comment on the issue of foreigners with criminal records in other countries, moving to Samoa to set up businesses.

Members of the public recently expressed concern that foreign investors with criminal records are being allowed into the country for business purposes. 

Attempts by this newspaper to contact the MCIL Chief Executive Officer Pulotu Lyndon Chu-Ling were unsuccessful. But his office responded by sending this newspaper an information paper, which explained how the MCIL and other Government Ministries are mandated to promote, facilitate and regulate the development of foreign investment in Samoa. 

“MCIL is mandated by Parliament to administer the Foreign Investment Act 2000, the Companies Act 2001 and Labour and Employment Relations Act 2013. These legislations support the development of foreign investment in Samoa. Other Government Ministries also have their own legislations that authorises them to provide this support."

Furthermore, in support of the provisions of the Foreign Investment Act 2000, refer to the process currently in place for the registration of any business by a non- Samoan citizen. 

The MCIL says that for this process each step is cross checked with a number of required documentation including medical and police clearance reports. 

“The most important thing to note for each step is that the foreign investor cannot proceed to the next step if they do not meet the requirements of the previous steps and are issued with the required certificate/license/permits. 

For instance, even if a foreign investor is issued with an FIC and upon applying for a business license they do not meet the requirements, they cannot proceed,” according to MCIL. 

“All of the requirements for each step are to be renewed on an annual basis and this is another way to monitor the operations of these foreign owned businesses. 

“All Foreign investment enterprise as one of the conditions of their Foreign investment certificate are required to be in compliance with all other national laws. 

“Once an investor/business breaches any of the aforementioned law their certificate/license/permit will be revoked,” says MCIL. 

“Therefore, the process for foreign investors to go through before they can fully establish and start operating in Samoa is an on-going collaborative work of MCIL, Ministry for Revenue and Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet and we are always looking for areas to improve on and strengthen this working relationship to ensure sustainable foreign investment for the benefit of the Samoan economy.” 

By Joyetter Feagaimaali'i

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