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Tax Cheating Must Stop: President Konrote

The President, Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konousi Konrote, says tax evasion — with the corrupt manipulation of accounts and the deliberate concealment of income for the purpose of cheating must stop.
12 Dec 2015 11:51
Tax Cheating Must Stop: President Konrote
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with President, Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konousi Konrote at the 17th Attorney-General’s Conference at InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa in Natadola yesterday.

The President, Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konousi Konrote, says tax evasion — with the corrupt manipulation of accounts and the deliberate concealment of income for the purpose of cheating must stop.

He made the remarks while opening the 17th Attorney-General’s Conference at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa, Natadola, yesterday.

He told more than 400 participants, the biggest attendance yet: “As lawyers, you in this room will advise others on the payment of taxes, and here is where your duty to your client and your duty to the law is often tested.

“Legitimate avoidance of taxes for a legitimate purpose cannot be confused with tax evasion—with the corrupt manipulation of accounts and the deliberate concealment of income for the purpose of tax cheating. It must stop.

“As lawyers, you are the embodiment of the law. You are the experts, the ones people turn to for counsel and wisdom. And that counsel and wisdom must be ethical, it must be honest, and it must uphold a high standard for transparency and forthrightness.”

He said, “corruption is wrong in all forms. In the legal profession, it is even more dangerous and potentially disastrous because corrupt practices can threaten the faith Fijian people place in the judicial system.

“Too often have we seen instances where lawyers have used their understanding of the law to abuse it. That is unacceptable. When the justice system is seen as corrupt, or when justice is not equally delivered, society takes note. It breeds disillusionment and damages confidence in the judicial system. The judiciary is a foundational component of a functioning democracy, and when it fails to operate properly, nations fail to function.”

He said to be charged with protecting a just and equitable society “is a noble profession and it should be treated as such.

“The enormous power that is bestowed on you, demands enormous responsibility. It is your duty to maintain high ethical and professional standards for yourselves and those around you. When we preserve this culture of integrity and excellence in our legal profession, we will see the benefits of a truly just society and a progressive and accountable judiciary.

“You are officers of the court. In our advocacy system, you are charged with two responsibilities—to vigorously defend the interests of your client and to protect the integrity of the legal system. Your advocacy must be within the bounds set by law and by the ethical code of the legal profession. By your actions—by testing the law and by insisting on its equal application—you strengthen the law.

“I am pleased to see lawyers arguing strenuously for their clients, even when I do not agree with their clients. That strengthens the law. I am pleased to see calls for greater accountability for public servants. That also strengthens the law. I am pleased to see efforts to ensure that everyone pays their taxes and follows regulations that were developed for the common good. That, too, strengthens the law. And ladies and gentlemen, when we strengthen the law, we strengthen our democracy. We strengthen our nation. And we empower our people,” he said. Edited by: Maikeli Seru

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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