5 Dec 2013

Cooks formal inquiry into 'Colagate' in new year

5:30 am on 5 December 2013

The group tasked to look into the so-called 'Colagate' issue in the Cook Islands says a formal inquiry could begin in the new year.

At the start of the year it was revealed that since the mid 1980s to 2009, the Cook Islands Trading Company, which imports Coca Cola, had an arrangement which cut its import tax.

The Public Accounts Committee has been holding informal hearings over the past couple of months, and are ready to table a preliminary report on the matter to parliament.

It's chairman, John Henry, says the inquiry will look into how the arrangement was able to begin in the first place.

"Was there fault to the person involved in issuing the authority, or was the Act not strong enough, or was there any loop in the Act? In terms of the legality, we really also need to look into the Act at the time when the authority was provided for the process of, as people term it, the splitting of invoices."

John Henry says at this time, he doesn't anticipate any criminal proceedings will take place as a result of the inquiry.