10 Mar 2008

Fiji tax authority probed over Chaudhry controversy

2:04 pm on 10 March 2008

Fiji's tax department is being scrutinised by a three-member committee investigating the tax matters of the interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

An Australia-based lawyer Bruce Cowley, taxation expert Russel Postle of Brisbane and a former Fiji Cabinet Minister Taufa Vakatale make up the committee.

The interim Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says making public the confidential tax details of a government member or any citizen is unprecedented.

"The report that was given by FIRCA to the Prime Minister essentially stated that all the legal obligations that FIRCA had [were] met. So now this enquiry team has come along. There have been allegations made against FIRCA itself so that's why he needed an independent team to come along, essentially also assessing FIRCA if you like, indirectly."

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Mr Chaudhry has taken five days leave, and could not be reached for comment.