Tax evasion topped list of case reports in 2020: Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit

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Tax evasion topped the list of case re­ports that was picked up by the Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit last year.

This equates to $54,216,419 (US$25,820,346.71) worth of intelli­gence and 128 cases that was passed on to the Fiji Revenue Customs Service Tax Division for investigation.

Director of the Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit, Razim Buksh made the comment dur­ing a Fijian Media Association(FMA) and Pacific Anti-Corruption Journalists’ Network(PACJN) virtual session Tuesday.

He said a total of 270 cases that were flagged to the relevant law enforcement agencies.

Buksh reminded journalists that their work involved several stakeholders – both on the domestic and international front.

The unit is currently providing direct as­sistance to international agencies about a major drug trafficking matter that will be heart in Australian, New Zealand and U.S courts. With the recent release of the leaked Pandora Papers – Buksh was hopeful that they will soon get access find out more about individuals and companies with links to Fiji.

He reiterated that Fiji is not a tax haven country, and we need not be worried that Fiji will be used as a conduit like other Pacific Island countries highlighted in the Pandora Papers like Samoa, Niue, Marshall Islands and Cook Islands.

But he cautioned that information that is being circulated should be considered.

According to the Fiji National Risk As­sessment Review of Money Laundering Threats in Fiji 2020 (For the review period 2016 – 2019) – the funds generated from il­licit drug trafficking and tax evasion which may be available for laundering in and through Fiji is considered more than $10 million(US$10 million) per annum.

Illicit funds from corruption, robbery, theft, fraud, and forgery are likely to go up to $5 million(US$2.5 million) annually.

Buksh also took the opportunity to chastise the media about not reaching out to the FIU regarding the Niko Nawaikula case.

“No media approached me unfortunately and regrettably. We have a customer identi­fication regime for the banks and financial institutions regarding customer identifica­tion using official documents.

He said the Financial Transaction Reports Act pro­vides clear requirements on identification.

Fiji Sun’s Shine A Light Editor Ivamere Nataro and Fiji Times Editor Fred Wesley also talked about their experiences on the ground..

SOURCE: FIJI SUN/PACNEWS