Assistant Attorney General reviews OneCoin report

The Government has yet to charge anyone in relation to an investigation report into the operations of OneCoin in Samoa.

This was confirmed by the Assistant Attorney General, Sefo Jr Ainu’u, who told the Samoa Observer the Office of the Attorney General is continuing to review the spontaneous intelligence report from the New Zealand Intelligence Unit (N.Z.F.I.U.).

The report implicated two local churches as being involved in what the Central Bank of Samoa described as a “Hybrid Ponzi-Pyramid Scheme”.

“As the review is ongoing therefore no charges have been laid,” said Mr. Ainu’u.

“Our office is presently reviewing the file in consultation with all relevant government agencies, including the Central Bank and the Ministry of Police.

“At this point in time, it would be premature to comment given the review is presently on foot.”

The report was referred to the Assistant Attorney General after Attorney General, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, declared a conflict of interest.

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Mr. Ainu’u was also asked to comment on what the recommendation from the Police regarding the N.Z.F.I.U. report but he said he could not comment for the reason that the review is ongoing.

“The review of the findings or outcome of a criminal investigation and the decision to prosecute is an important and sensitive stage in law enforcement,” he said.

“As such, it is carried out under strict confidence for various reasons including protecting the identity of informants and the reputations of those the subject of the said investigation.

“We cannot therefore release any information regarding the investigation, or the review of the findings of that investigation until it is completed.”

The Central Bank of Samoa had previously raised concerns about the scheme, labelling it a “scam” because it had ingredients of both types of scams – Ponzi Scheme and Pyramid Scheme.

The local churches that were identified in the report disseminated by C.B.S. from N.Z.F.I.U. are the Worship Center Church and the Samoa Independent Seventy Day Adventist Church (S.I.S.D.A.C.)  

A representative of S.I.S.D.A.C that spoke with the Samoa Observer in May when the report came out denied the allegations.

The senior pastor denied the local church being involved claiming that only the church branch in New Zealand was part of it.

However an official from Worship Center Church that was authorised to respond to questions from the media did not deny advocating for the scheme.

The Church I.T. Engineer Fono Toluono in a previous interview confirmed that the church and many others in Samoa including top government officials have invested in OneCoin.

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