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Fiji's Anti-Money laundering Council is currently investigating three cases of unexplained wealth worth over $2 million (US$1 million).
The task force comprises members from the Fiji Police Force, FICAC, Fiji Revenue, and Customs Services and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
FIU Director Razim Buksh says the three cases will soon be sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution for a decision.
“The first case involves around a quarter-million dollars of unexplained wealth or possession of unexplained wealth and the other two cases involve a million dollars each whereby the suspects are alleged to have in possession substantial wealth that are questionable.”
Buksh says once the investigations are finalised then it will be the determination by the court whether the wealth they possess are explained.
He also says if the explanations by the suspects’ person is not convincing the money will be confiscated.
Meanwhile, the government’s digitalFiji initiative will help the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS)deal with black economy.
FRCS Chief Executive Visvanath Das says unrecorded and untaxed economic activity will continue until the authorities digitally capture all financial transactions.
“As long as there’s cash dealing in the economy, that’s exactly what black economy is all about. There is a tendency that there’ll be revenue leakages and I think that’s where we need to appreciate the broader picture initiative of the government in terms of digitizing Fiji or digitalFiji and that’ll help address all these issues.’
Das adds while some businesses are paying their dues, it’s unfair that others continue to manipulate the system.
“It distorts the level playing field. I think and I see it as totally unfair to people who are paying taxes. So if people draw out of tax paid dollars, that’s fine, that’s what it should be.”
Financial Intelligence Unit Director Razim Buksh says they’re working with FRCS and other relevant stakeholders to curb this issue.
“So we partner very well with key agencies like FRCS, Fiji Police Force, and the Fiji independent Commission against corruption. These are the three agencies we work with on a daily basis and we exchange information. We assist each other in terms of providing the profiling that is needed and more so in terms of financial transactions.”
While the Revenue and Customs Service is giving opportunities to Fijians to comply voluntarily, fines will be imposed on repeat offenders.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
Media Helping Media