A FORMER senior tax assessor at the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority has been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment and is only eligible for parole after serving 10 years.
High Court judge Justice Paul Madigan convicted Robin Surya of one count of money laundering and sentenced him yesterday afternoon in a packed courtroom.
The court heard that between March 1, 2008 and September 30, 2010, Surya deprived FRCA of $350,000 after falsifying tax return income and depositing the money into bank accounts of eight different people.
The court heard that Surya would later tell the eight people, who became immunity witnesses during the trial, that "people owed him money but did not want his wife to know".
The money was never recovered.
In mitigation, Surya's lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo asked Justice Madigan to consider weekend detention or a suspended sentence since his client is 41 years old, has two young children and is remorseful for his actions.
Justice Madigan said the fact that the money was never recovered ruled out any consideration for a suspended sentence or weekend detention.
Justice Madigan said Surya was not remorseful because he still maintained that he never received any of the $350,000 and that one of the state witnesses known as Jimmy was the man behind the whole scam.
"An unrepentant criminal cannot be said to be remorseful. And in addition to that, there has been not one shred of evidence of remorse on the part of the accused throughout the trial," Justice Madigan said.
The court heard that Surya owned two flats, three taxis and used to own a nightclub.
Mr Vosarogo told the court that the two flats mentioned is their family house, a property bought by Surya's father.