21 Aug 2007

Australian goldminer Westech's assets frozen by Fiji authority

10:38 am on 21 August 2007

The new Australian company, WESTECH, which has taken over the closed down Vatukoula gold mine in Fiji, has had all its local bank accounts frozen.

The Fiji Sun reports that the action has been taken by the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority which has taken out a garnishee order against Westech.

The Authority's acting chief executive, Pramod Rae has confirmed that a garnishee order has been taken out against Westech for non-payment of taxes by the mine's previous owner, Emperor Gold Mining Limited.

Mr Rae says it is only fair that the company that takes over the gold mine pays these debts.

A garnishee order means that all assets are frozen until tax liabilities are paid.

Westech director, Brian Wesson, says the garnishee order against them was based on the tax status of the Emperor Company over the past 16 years but his company is going ahead with it operations to re-start the mine.