Investigations underway into illegal funds circulating the country

Investigations underway into illegal funds circulating the country

Friday 24/05/2013
Investigations are underway in relation to a number of cases of money laundering, tax evasion and funding illegal activities as over $300 million has been circulating in the country over the past three years.

Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority CEO Jitoko Tikolevu said they are looking at different means on how this money has been circulating.

He added they are aware how people are circulating this illegal money.

Tikolevu believes with the introduction of the new ‘unexplained wealth’ provisions in the Proceeds of the Crime Amendment Decree of 2012 they will be able to deal with this issue.

For the purposes of this Decree, a person has unexplained wealth if the value of the person’s total wealth is greater than the value of the person’s lawfully acquired wealth.

The change in the law puts burden of proof on the person to provide a satisfactory explanation to the court as to how he or she was able to maintain such a standard of living or how such pecuniary resources or property came under his or her control.

Before police needed to investigate to find out how people got the money.

Tikolevu said they will now have additional powers to forfeit any undeclared income as unexplained wealth.
The Director of the Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit Razim Buksh says the new unexplained wealth provisions enables the court to confiscate any property or benefit that is owned or controlled by a person that cannot be reasonably explained in relation to the lawful income of that person.

Buksh added Police now can shorten the investigation time of such cases.

Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua said they have committed substantial resources in investigating complex financial crimes as they have specialized units like the Anti-Money Laundering Investigation Unit, the Cyber-Crime Unit and the Transnational Crime Unit.

Story by: Ronal Deo & Akuila Cama

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