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Samoa Ministry of Customs & Revenue rejects “confidential waste” dumping

Samoa flag
Source: Samoa Ministry of Customs & Revenue

Apia, SAMOA — In a public notice released yesterday, signed by the CEO of the Samoa Ministry of Customs &  Revenue, Matafeo Avalisa Viali-Fautua’alii, ‘confidential’ waste is said to have been dug up from a landfill and outed on Facebook, as supposedly confidential documents/ waste found on the side of the road.

According to the Ministry notice, confidential waste documents containing various taxpayers’ information has been widely publicized on social media forum mainly the Facebook, since Saturday, 12 June or Sunday, 13 June 2021.

 These ‘confidential waste documents’ resulted from paper usage through:

         •        Printing

         •        Photocopying

         •        Draft correspondences with taxpayers

         •        Internal memorandums on work matters, etc.

The waste documents were used by officers during their reviews, amendments, reconciling and testings, reassessment and drafting works and therefore were not required to be filed as records but are stored in the Ministry’s ‘confidential waste bins’.

The Ministry says “the confidential waste bags publicly posted and shared on Facebook, were part of the confidential rubbish that were sent to be disposed off at the Tafaigata landfill on Thursday, 10 June 2021. In the presence of various officials, ten (10) confidential rubbish bags were buried deep into the landfill.

“Sadly and unfortunately, some of these ‘confidential rubbish’ were presumably dug up and illegally removed from the disposal site by someone and later posted on the Facebook.

“This information was not found on the roadside as inaccurately reported on Facebook.

The continuous strict protection of taxpayers information is paramount to the Ministry, the public notice states, as the documents are considered ‘confidential information’ under section 9 of the Tax Administration Act 2012. 

“A breach of this section is considered an offense and faces not only monetary penalty but also imprisonment term.

Given the seriousness of the act to remove the MInistry’s ‘confidential rubbish’ illegally from the disposal site, the Ministry of Customs & Revenue has now lodged a complaint to the Ministry of Police and an investigation is currently ongoing.  

The Customs & Revenue CEO says they are now seeking the public’s support in making sure all posts containing photos of these waste documents with the Ministry’s logo and name on it, are removed from Facebook by either: deleting the post(s), report post and cease sharing or forwarding those photos. 

CEO Matafeo respectfully seeks the public’s patience and support as they endeavor to resolve this matter.