6 Mar 2008

Fiji's Military Council advises interim PM to ask interim Finance Minister to step aside

11:09 am on 6 March 2008

Fiji's Military Council has advised the interim Prime Minister to ask his interim Finance Minister to step aside while a full scale independent inquiry into his personal tax affairs gets underway.

The Fiji Times says the military spokesman, Lt-Col Sitiveni Qiliho confirmed to them that the members of the council presented the submission to Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Lt-Col Sitiveni Qiliho declined to divulge more details on the submission except to say that they would accept whatever decision Commodore Bainimarama made.

He said this is a matter between the interim Prime Minister and interim finance minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

Another source said Commodore Bainimarama was supposed to have written to Mr Chaudhry, asking him to step aside so that the allegations against him could be investigated.

The Fiji Times revealed last month that Mr Chaudhry was the interim minister at the centre of allegations of not having declared or paid taxes on an alleged amount of over 1.5 million US dollars held in overseas bank and investment accounts.