FIJI CUSTOMS AGENTS PROBED IN TAX SCAM

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 7) - The Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority (FIRCA ) is investigating a possible scam at its Lautoka office in which a fictitious tax was charged and pocketed by three workers.

FIRCA chief executive officer Sila Kotobalavu confirms three officers from the Lautoka office have been sent on leave as the probe proceeds.

Sources tell Fiji One News the three officer’s have allegedly been manipulating the system for years, and in the process may have pocketed more than one million dollars.

It’s been found the three officers created and imbedded into their computer systems the names of fictitious companies and have been claiming value added taxes.

The system was allegedly used to pay this money to the officers.

We sent written questions to FIRCA CEO Sila Kotobalavu, asking him if FIRCA is investigating the scam where officers have been making false VAT claims and pocketing the money.

Kotobalavu replied, "yes."

He adds the officers are on leave with full pay while they carry out investigations.

We asked him if he knew how much money has been lost through this scam; Kotobalavu said it’s too early at this stage to determine the exact amount.

Sila Kotobalavu couldn’t say who is carrying out the investigation and when it will be completed.

October 8, 2004

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

 

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