Alleged money scam, Scientology and Christian Samoa

Something doesn’t seem right with this picture. In Christian state Samoa today, two consecutive front-page stories uncovering some eyebrow-raising developments should make us all sit up and take notice.

First there was the story titled “Churches dispute One Coin claim” on the front page of the Sunday Samoan with a side story under the headline “Central Bank puts OneCoin users under scrutiny.” And then yesterday, another front-page story titled “Samoa schools trial work of Church of Scientology Founder” was published. Both stories boggle the mind, they really do.

The question is what is going on in Samoa? Whereas some churches – have become more and more like businesses – to the point where they have been promoting “hybrid ponzi-pyramid scheme”. Out there in some primary schools, our children are being taught with materials based on the work of a “cult".

What are these developments trying to tell us? Are the people of this country – including our church leaders who are allowing this stuff to go on – so desperate that it is now a matter of “everything must go?”

We say this because it appears that the moral compass of this country has spun out of control so that no one can separate what’s decent, sound and good from the ugly deception we see all around us.

Alleged money scams? Cults? Goodness gracious, what's next?

Now let’s have a look at the story titled “Churches dispute OneCoin claims” published on the front page of the Sunday Samoan on Sunday. The story reveals that two local churches have been implicated in an intelligence report from the New Zealand Police for their involvement in a “Hybrid Ponzi-Pyramid Scheme” popularly known as “One Coin.”

In a statement issued by the Central Bank of Samoa, it referred to OneCoin as a “scam” because it “contains ingredients of both types of scams – Ponzi Scheme and Pyramid Scheme.”

Which is where it becomes even more interesting.

“The target of OneCoin is through the churches,” the Central Bank warns. “There are two large churches that were used in OneCoin operations. These two Churches, although originated in Samoa, have branches in New Zealand and Australia, thereby affecting the Pasefika community.

“This is why N.Z.F.I.U. have formulated the view that public education on the issue would be futile because the church ministers are the promoters, and they are held out to be trustworthy, hence, people of the congregation will follow suit.”

The churches that have been identified by the way are the Worship Center Church and Samoan Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church (S.I.S.D.A.C.).

Both churches have strongly disputed the claims. Whereas the World Executive Secretary of S.I.S.D.A.C., Pastor Iafeta Masipau, said their local branch is not involved, the Worship Centre Church’s One-Coin spokesperson, Fono Toluono, defended some of their church member’s decision to invest in One Coin.

“It’s a risky business but it’s freewill of each individual that invests in it. It is not a scam from my point of view,” he said.

He added that many people have signed up for the OneCoin scheme, which includes Members of Parliament and senior Government officials. The story revealed that an estimated 1,000 Samoans have already joined.

Well that is a lot of people and definitely a lot of money.

What we find puzzling is the Central Bank’s role in all this.

For a long time now, they have been issuing these warnings about these schemes. Indeed, for the best part of two years, the Bank has consistently raised the issue with countless statements, warning members of the public against cryptocurrency and the like.

Now here’s the thing, if these schemes are illegal and are scams as they say, why hasn’t the bank taken any action against the people involved? Why hasn’t the bank moved on the churches involved? What are they waiting for?

The picture were getting is a shark without any teeth so that all it is doing is circling its prey but it’s helpless since it is powerless to pounce. Which is precisely what’s happening.

Looking at what’s been said publically, the people involved obviously feel very strongly that this is their windfall from heaven. Good luck.

But it’s time for the Central Bank and the relevant authorities to do more than warning people. The truth unless they take action, more and more Samoans will be enticed and fooled by the lure of quick money and easy cash, which is what these schemes are all about.

But that’s not all; they have something even more powerful. In Samoa, nobody doubts a Pastor who tells them what to do.

Now isn’t it telling that while Scientology is slowly but surely creeping into our schools infiltrating the thinking of our young children, the Christian churches have become so pre-occupied with matters of money and wealth?

Something is definitely terribly amiss with the make up of Samoa today.

As a country, we need to wake up and get out priorities right before it is too late. What do you think?

Have a great Tuesday Samoa, God bless!

Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?