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$2m fine paid

Shalveen Chand
Tuesday, July 01, 2014

FORMER prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry has paid his $2million fine to the High Court Criminal Registry, the Acting Chief Registrar Yohan Liyanage confirmed yesterday.

Chaudhry was convicted of violating the Exchange Control Act for retaining 1.5 million Australian dollars in a bank outside of Fiji, without the consent of the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

He was sentenced to pay a fine of $2m in Fijian dollars by June 30, and in default serve a 15-month jail term.

Despite the FLP leader paying his fine last Friday, Chaudhry is yet to comply with the court order to repatriate the funds he has been keeping in Australia.

According to the order, Chaudhry has until the end of this month to do this.

An application to have a stay on the sentence was dismissed by the High Court last month, when Chaudhry was told by Justice Paul Madigan that he should pay the fine and if the appeal went in his favour , he could get his money back from the court.

An application for leave to appeal against the sentence and conviction is also before the Fiji Court of Appeal.

The conviction has rendered Chaudhry ineligible for the general election in September.

Under the Constitution and the Electoral Decree a person is not eligible to be a candidate if in the eight years prior to nomination, the person has been convicted of a crime which has a maximum sentence of 12 months.

In Chaudhry's case, the maximum sentence for his crime was two years but despite this Chaudhry has maintained that he will be contesting the general election.

Chaudhry's case will be called again on July 7 to confirm the payment of the fine.

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