5 Apr 2014

Fiji High Court rules former PM Chaudhry guilty

11:47 am on 5 April 2014

The Fiji High Court has found former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry guilty of breaching the Exchange Control Act.

Four assessors made a unanimous decision on Friday, which was upheld by Justice Paul Madigan.

The court found Chaudhry had invested $1.5 million Australian dollars outside Fiji without informing the Reserve Bank, while he was the Minister of Finance.

Our correspondent Ricardo Morris says Chaudhry argued he had notified the Reserve Bank in 2006, but Justice Madigan ruled he should have done more.

"Even though he was aware from at least 2009 that he would be possibly breaching this Control Act, he made no attempts to bring the money back into Fiji. The Reserve Bank is looking at it as a loss to Fiji in terms of interest that could have been gained had it been repatriated into Fiji."

Ricardo Morris says due to Mahendra Chaudhry's age and health, the court allowed time to prepare a mitigation of sentence, which will be heard on May the 1st.