Church seeks legal advice

The Samoan Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church (S.I.S.D.A.C.) is seeking legal advice over reports from the Central Bank of Samoa which they claim has “threaten the integrity” and “good standing of the church”.

The report in question is one that was released by the New Zealand Financial Intelligence Unit (N.Z.F.I.U.) which the Central Bank made reference to One Coin being a "scam." The Bank also identified two local churches implicated in it, S.I.S.D.A.C. and the Worship Centre.

In a “Communication Release” dated 2 May 2019 issued under the S.I.S.D.A.C. World Council letterhead, the church maintains its position of not being affiliated with “money laundering activity”. 

The statement also noted the church takes issue with how the Central Bank summarised the report from N.Z.F.I.U. 

“A report by the New Zealand Financial Intelligence Unit (N.Z.F.I.U.) summarised by the Financial Intelligence Unit (F.I.U.) of the Central Bank of Samoa (C.B.S.) and posted on their website on the 25 April 2019 alleges S.I.S.D.A.C. has knowingly participated in money laundering activity,” the statement reads. 

“We take issue with the way in which the report was summarised by the Central Bank of Samoa. 

“S.I.S.D.A.C. has never knowingly participated or colluded in any way shape or form with any individual or organisation in this type of illegal activity.”

According to the statement, the church has not received a copy of the 124-page report in which “once we receive this report, we will complete our due diligence”.

“Furthermore, we are unaware of an investigation by the N.Z.F.I.U. and C.B.S. into our church accounts. 

“If such an investigation is underway, we will cooperate with authorities. 

“S.I.S.D.A.C. is seeking legal counsel over these matters that threaten the integrity and good standing of the church, its leadership, its missionary work and the wellbeing of its loyal membership.”  

The statement said to contact Minister Tafilelea Fa’avae Gagamoe and Pastor Amos Auimatagi-Feau for media enquiries.   

Tafilelea, who is a S.I.S.D.A.C. Church Minister based in New Zealand, was contacted for a comment on Friday. 

He acknowledged the statement from the church and asked to have queries sent to him via email where he will respond in due course. 

There was no response from the S.I.S.D.A.C. Church minister at press time. 

In a recent interview with the S.I.S.D.A.C. World Executive Secretary, Pastor Iafeta Masipau, he confirmed the local church is not affiliated but the N.Z. branch is involved. 

“The (S.I.S.D.A.C.) church in New Zealand is involved but not us in Samoa,” said Pastor Masipau told the Samoa Observer.

“That is what I am looking at why the Samoa Church is mentioned because none of us here in Samoa is involved.

“There might be some individuals from the church that have joined (OneCoin) but not us in Samoa.”

It was not possible to get a comment from the Central Bank of Samoa yesterday.

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