THE Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority has not used current tax laws to find the source of the alleged $1.6million deposited in interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry's Australian bank account.
Under bilateral agreements between the two countries, FIRCA can approach its Australian counterpart and ask for information on the bank accounts held there by Fiji residents.
This would allow them to establish whether money paid into Mr Chaudhry's bank account was credit from the Indian Consulate General in Sydney.
When approached yesterday, FIRCA Chief Executive Jitoko Tikolevu said he was not in a position to discuss tax details.
He would not reveal the identity of any interim Cabinet ministers whose taxes had been investigated. And he refused to talk about Mr Chaudhry.
"I cannot name anyone regarding their tax records," he said.
Section Four of the Income Tax Act prevents authority staff from revealing details of taxpayers' accounts.
But a former FIRCA auditor said there was a reluctance within the authority to pursue the matter.
"All that has been done so far is a desk audit," said former Chief Auditor Risk and Compliance, Lepani Rabo.
"What really needs to be done is an asset betterment statement which will show the taxpayer's true worth.
"From that statement we are able to determine whether the correct taxes had been paid." Mr Rabo said bilateral agreements between Australia and Fiji allowed a free flow of information.
"All that's needed is for the letter to be signed and sent, asking for specific information. It's quite simple," he said.
In Mr Chaudhry's case, he said tax officers needed to establish who gave him $1.6million and what it was for.
"If it is declared a gift, we should know what type of gift it was, who gave the gift, what it was for and in the end where the money went," Mr Rabo said.
"If that money is in Fiji, FIRCA needs to know whether exchange control rules were followed and who has that money now."
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