17 Nov 2005

Fiji watchdog says tax officials raising suspicions by not turning over records

5:33 pm on 17 November 2005

Fiji's Deputy Auditor General, Kavemi Takalebu, says his office has called on parliament and the Finance Minister to help them gain access to certain tax records which have been denied to them by the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority.

The Authority says until the auditor general, Eroni Vatuleka, swears an oath of secrecy that is required under the Income Tax Act and the Value Added Tax Decree, they cannot release any records.

Mr Takalebu says that has stymied an investigation his office is trying to carry out following complaints of corrupt practises within the tax office.

He says the auditor general has already signed a secrecy oath under the Audit Act, and he says the actions of the Authority are raising suspicions.

"The Audit Act has already given us the power to audit any organisation and we are already covered by the Secrecy Act in the Audit Act which stops us from disclosing any confidential information coming our way. Now what we are thinking is that they are trying to hide something from us."

Fiji's Deputy Auditor General, Kavemi Takalebu