How Fatiaki’s tax case arose 1/7/2009
On 10 December, the tax investigator who had presented FIRCA’s case to that above meeting in or about the afternoon of 7 December, wrote to Justice Fatiaki as follows: “This letter is to notify you that the Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority is conducting an investigation into an allegation that you have breached the Income Tax Act by omitting income from your tax returns for the years ended 31 December 1998 to 2005.”
He also attached for Justice Fatiaki’s information a copy of the relevant parts of section 44 and section 96 of the Income Tax Act. The tax investigator, who is no longer employed with FIRCA, gave Justice Fatiaki the opportunity of participating in a formal interview to answer the above allegations against the suspended CJ.
“The interview will be conducted under criminal caution. At this interview you may choose to have your legal representative or another person present. The interview will be at a mutually convenient place and time. This may be during or outside working hours, at FIRCA premises or another place. If you wish to be interviewed could you please contact the undersigned by phone within 14 days to arrange this? As an alternative to an interview you may choose to make a written, signed statement concerning the allegation,” the investigating tax officer told Justice Fatiaki.
Now, the former tax investigator claims that the interim government used the tax system to get people for political reasons. He also claims that the information he gave to Mr Madigan and Ms Yang was under perceived threat, paving the way for action to remove Justice Fatiaki under the 1997 Constitution of Fiji.
Looking back at my notes, the former tax investigator had written to me the following when I was preparing the $630,000 tax story: “During the course of my investigation into Fatiaki I made friends with two Hong Kong based investigators who were looking into Fatiaki for the sec 138 of the Constitution hearing about him being a fit and proper person to be a judge (to be heard in Feb 08) - Paul Madigan and Elizabeth Yang. It was they who persuaded me to complain to George Langman about [the consultant’s] blackmail attempt, because FICAC owed me a favour for helping them get Fatiaki.”
Two e-mails, one from Ms Yang dated 1 November 2007 (“This is Elizabeth from Hong Kong. We had a meeting about two months ago regarding a tax case”) and another from Mr Madigan dated 16 January 2008 (“It was go[o]d to talk to you this afterno[o]n. I have thought about your situation a lot over the last couple of months. I arrived back in Fiji yesterday to do more FICAC work and then to prosecute the Fatiaki case…I wish you loads of luck and happine[s]s and please ke[ep] in touch”) to the former tax investigator confirms his assertion that he assisted the two Hong Kong-based prosecutors.
Commenting on Ms Yang’s e-mail, the former tax investigator said he had a meeting with Mr Madigan, Ms Yang and Mr Tikolevu in September 2007 in which he (the former tax investigator) gave the FICAC lawyers a photocopy of Justice Fatiaki’s confession. “They were very pleased and this was the start of our cordial relations. Providing this information was illegal but it was done out of the state of fear previously described,” said the former tax investigator. Lest we forget, Justice Paul Madigan!
Editor's Note: For readers wanting more on this story, click on the links below. They'll take you to the stories Victor Lal did for the Fiji Sun in 2009, which signpost Justice Paul Madigan's involvement in the interim government's purge efforts.