12 Mar 2008

Head of inquiry team into Chaudhry tax provided advice to interim government last year

11:14 am on 12 March 2008

The Fiji Times reports that the head of the inquiry team that investigated the tax affairs of the interim finance minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, provided advice to the interim government before he was engaged for the inquiry.

The newspaper says it has obtained a document which show that Australian Bruce Cowley had already been engaged by the Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority last year.

The interim regime hired him recently to look at whether the Fiji tax authorities had met all its obligations.

It had described the investigation team as an independent commission.

The tax authority has meanwhile denied any involvement by Mr Cowley.

Yesterday, the former opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, described the inquiry outcome as a whitewash as the terms of reference excluded the examination of pertinent aspects.

Mr Chaudhry has said he plans to sue the Fiji Times for hundreds of millions of dollars for defamation.