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Former church official under scrutiny

Fata Ueligatone Malifa (
Source: Samoa Observer

Apia, SAMOA — A couple of districts have asked the Congregational Christian Church Samoa's Executives for an update on church funds that a former Assistant Treasurer of New Zealand parishes used "illegally" during his term of office.

The districts, which are home to CCCS churches, want to know if the funds that the former Assistant Treasurer used were paid back to the church.

The Vaimauga district was one of the districts that raised the issue and asked the Executives whether the church has been able to recover more than half a million tala that is allegedly unaccounted for during Fata Ueligitone Malifa's tenure.

In response, the former general secretary of the Fonotele, Revered Vavatau Taufao informed the members of the church that they have had trouble getting through to Fata. 

He said the only contact the church had was through Fata's brother, who was a reverend elder of a CCCS parish in Australia and passed away last year. 

Rev. Taufao also informed the general assembly that Fata's brother, the late Rev. Elder Taeipo Malifa started making payments on behalf of Fata, in an effort to pay off what was allegedly taken from the church. However, following the passing of Fata's brother last year, the church could no longer get in touch with Fata.

The issue was also raised in the church's General Assembly last year in September with members pressing the Finance Committee to make sure to recover the funds and ask Fata to pay back the church's money. 

The misused of funds by the former Assistant Treasurer Fata was first raised during the General Assembly in 2019 after the former chairman of the Finance Committee, Le Mamea Ropati Mualia, tabled the Church Finance Committee’s Annual report for the year 2018. According to the report, Chairman Le Mamea Ropati and former Treasurer of the church, Reverend Rimoni Wright traveled to New Zealand to investigate the matter in 2019 before the Fonotele in May.  

The former Secretary, Rev. Taufao in an interview with the Samoa Observer at the time, said Fata had promised to pay back the money and had asked the church to give him some time. 

“He’s looking to put up his house on the market to get the money to clear his name.” 

However, this newspaper understands that Fata had since moved to Australia with his family and no longer resides in New Zealand. 

Read more at the Observer