17 Aug 2007

Fiji Revenue Authority not to investigate claims against interim minister

8:47 am on 17 August 2007

The Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority will not carry out any investigation into an interim government minister who is alleged to have evaded taxes over several years.

The chairman of the Authority, Filipe Bole, has labeled the allegations as a politically motivated smear campaign.

The Fiji Sun newspaper published stories this week from sources claiming that the interim minister had failed to lodge tax returns from 2000 to 2002, had penalties imposed and as a politician had increased his bank balance to over 600-thousand US dollars.

Mr Bole says the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority had nothing to do with the information contained in the stories and those behind it were politically motivated to discredit the Authority and the government.

Mr Bole says the Authority has no tax issues concerning ministers in the interim government on which appropriate action had not been taken when warranted.

He says the Authority has suspended six officers for their involvement in approving tax refunds from which they benefited along with their accomplices.

As well, Mr Bole says the Authority has strengthened its fraud team which will investigate tax evasion and customs complaints involving staff and taxpayers.