22 Aug 2007

Westech adamant it owes no tax in Fiji after Vatukoula takeover

2:05 pm on 22 August 2007

The Australian company Westech says it doesn't owe millions of dollars in taxes to Fiji authorities.

Westech director Brian Wesson says Fjii's Revenue and Customs Authority issued a garnishee order to freeze the company's assets from last Monday, against the company, for the non payment of taxes.

He says it was lucky that the company's money hadn't yet been transferred into bank accounts in Fiji.

He says the order hasn't affected Westech's plans to re-start the Vatukoula gold mine and to employ and train its 150 employees.

"It came as a bit of a surprise because we started moving ahead last week as you know. We signed the deed and moved ahead and then they put another roadblock in our way! But anyway, yes its very painful but everyone is being paid on site and we are taking people on. We have got people underground today cleaning up and moving the place back into production anyway."

Brian Wesson says Price Waterhouse Coopers cleared the company of owing taxes, and Westech's lawyers are now in talks with the Authority.

He says he's expecting things to be resolved this week.

The Authority had no comment on the matter.