The speed with which the interim regime carried out an investigation into Fijian Holdings Limited, is similar to the rapidity with which a team was secretly formed to carry out an inquiry to clear Mahendra Chaudhry, after the media revealed in February last year information about his $2 million stash in an Australian bank.
At 4pm on Friday 3rd July FHL issued a statement saying Board Chairman Isoa Kaloumaira, Deputy Chairman and deputy army commander Colonel Mohammed Aziz and Managing Director Sereana Qoro were told to proceed on leave for 5 days for the audit on corporate governance.
A few hours laterthe same day, Permanent Secretary for Information Lieutenant-Colonel Neumi Leweni in a statement said the regime had started proceedings to investigate FHL.
Leweni said Kaloumaira and Qoro were asked to step aside and deliberately failed to mention Aziz’s name.
Three days later on Monday 6th July, the FHL issued a statement that the audit had been completed and the three directors re-instated.
In early March 2008, Chaudhry was also sent on leave for a week pending an investigation into the $2 million stash.
Interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told the nation through the media that an inquiry was underway.
The team comprising of two expatriates and former deputy Prime Minister Taufa Vakatale completed their inquiry in three days.
A day later, Sayed Khaiyum told the nation through the media that Mahendra Chaudhry was cleared of tax evasion allegations and that the $2 million discovered in Australian bank was money given to him privately by people in Haryana, India after the 2000 coup.
The tax inquiry stated that Chaudhry was not familiar with Fiji’s tax laws and cleared him for declaring false income for four years in a bid to avoid paying tax.
The inquiry team ignored the fact that Chaudhry was a Finance Minister twice in 1987 and 1999-2000, interim Finance Minister at the time of the inquiry and Prime Minister between May 1999-May 2000.
And therefore should have been fully conversant with all tax laws.
Based on the last inquiry, the FHL probe would have definitely swept matters under the carpet.