10 Mar 2008

Former Fiji Opposition says Chaudhry tax committee compromised

8:12 pm on 10 March 2008

A former Fiji opposition leader is concerned over the impartiality and credibility of the team investigating the tax matters of the interim Finance Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry.

Fiji's tax department is being investigated by a three-member committee made up of an Australia-based lawyer, Bruce Cowley, taxation expert Russel Postle of Brisbane and a former Fiji Cabinet Minister, Taufa Vakatale.

The Fiji Times quotes Mick Beddoes saying the interim Attorney General had been a former employee of the law firm where Mr Cowley worked and this showed a clear conflict of interest.

Mr Beddoes also says Taufa Vakatale could not be considered transparent because she had been appointed by Mr Chaudhry to be a member of the Public Accounts Committee.

He says an independent inquiry can't be undertaken by a panel of three when two are already compromised.