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Court will give notice on Chaudhry's appeal ruling

Shalveen Chand
Friday, August 08, 2014

A RULING on the appeal by former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry on his sentence and conviction will be given on notice.

Chaudhry was convicted of violating the Exchange Control Act after he failed to declare $A1.5million he kept in banks in Australia. He was fined $2m and ordered to repatriate all monies he kept in overseas banks.

The conviction meant that Chaudhry was ineligible to contest the general election on September 17.

In court yesterday, Chaudhry's lawyer Anand Singh said trial judge Justice Paul Madigan had prejudged the case before the trial had started.

Mr Singh submitted the prosecution had not understood the Exchange Control Act and the elements of the charge were also wrong.

He said the trial judge was also wrong during summing up because he did not elaborate on things such as foreign currency and authorised dealers.

He added there was also no evidence presented by the prosecution that the appellant had delayed bringing money to Fiji and Chaudhry had paid all taxes in relation to the money kept in Australia.

According to Mr Singh, Justice Madigan was also wrong in fining Chaudhry $2m and asking to repatriate the funds.

He said the Act stated that maximum fine should only be $2000.

State prosecutor Mosese Korovou said they would stick to the submission filed in response to those of the appellant's.

He said the grounds being argued by the appellant had been dealt with before as these were the same things submitted in various interlocutory applications.

Both Chaudhry and the State finished the hearing yesterday.

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