Olioli production stopped, Skyline's nonu continues

The Ministry of Customs and Revenue is continuing its investigation into Skyline Company Limited’s tax practises in relation to the Olioli product.

But it has clarified that Skyline's other operations, including the nonu, are ongoing.

Last week, the Skyline olioli's manufacturing plant in Vaitele was given the order to shut after the Samoa Observer published an investigation exposing its non-standard accounting procedures and provision of loose-leaf receipts to retailers. The M.C.R.’s initial findings noted that Skyline Company had violated two tax laws, Customs Act 2014 and Excise Import Domestic Tax 1984.

This week, M.C.R. Commissioner, Matafeo Avalisa Fautuaali'i, clarified that Skyline Co. Ltd's other production lines such as the one for the Nonu juice is still in operation. 

“We had only seal off (or close down) its production line of the Olioli wine products," she said. 

“That means no more production of olioli wine stock unless they fix their CCTV cameras in the production rooms.

"We have not revoked or cancelled the company’s business license to operate its other business activities.

"We had penalized the Skyline on its Olioli wine products under the provisions of Customs Act 2014 and Excise Import (Domestic) Tax 1984,” explained Matafeo. 

 The Samoa Observer’s investigation into the allegations of widespread tax evasion in the liquor industry started in 2018. 

Last week, it was revealed the Company was selling olioli drinks to stores at the cost of the taxes that were imposed on the drinks. 

The revelation raised questions about how the company was able to make profits. 

Minister of Customs and Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt told the Samoa Observer at the time, the duration of the plant’s closure the Ministry will conduct a wholesale audit of company finances to determine whether Skyling have allegedly “avoided excise taxes” since 2015. 

He declined to comment as to the amount of the “hefty penalty” which was also levied on the company ran into the millions. He said that the investigation followed questions raised by the handwritten on non-standard paper receipts issued by Skyline. 

“This is also in line with the Skyline production [in Vaitele] being shut down for audit purposes, thanks to the Samoa Observer’s [investigative] articles that uncovered what was happening,” said the Minister. 

 

 

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