Agius tax evasion case uncovers Vt 476 million in defrauded taxes

On a day with not a lot of news, Robert Agius being jailed for nearly 9 years is the main story in Daily Post. The Sydney Morning Herald is their source, as for our breaking news last night.

Agius, 62, was a high-profile target of the multi-agency task force Project Wickenby, and was charged over conspiring to defraud the Commonwealth between 1997 and 2006. Some A$5 million (Vt 476 million) in Australian tax liabilities had been evaded.

Agius’s co-accused, accountant Kevin Zerafa, 37, was described by Justice Carolyn Simpson as “falling into a different category.” He was ordered to serve a 500-hour community service order. He was led by the “unscrupulous, amoral and overpowering employer,” Owen Daniel, in a “one-man war against the tax office,” said the judge.

Daily Post has Auditor General John Path in interview concerning the VNPF audit. Path promises the audit will be carried out by an overseas firm. “In order to recruit the right people for the job, due process must be followed and we have allowed up to 27 August for tenders to be received,” he says. “An appointment will be made soon after.”

150 metric tonnes of copra are to be a direct export to the Philippines from Malakula on a ship arriving today. The ship will sail directly from Litzlitz to General Santoa in the Philippines. It is hoped to have such shipments monthly, the VCCE boss Sethy Williams says.

Archaeologists Stuart Bedford and Matthew Spriggs have been made honorary curators of the Cultural Centre (VKS). Monday this week in a small ceremony with field workers the long and devoted service of the two archaeologists was recognised in a ceremony at the VKS.

Prime Minister Sato Kilman is making a visit to Ifira this Saturday afternoon in recognition of the seat of government being in the Ifira nasara. He will also be paying an official courtesy call on the chief. He will also be opening the Vanuatu National Games in Sola on Sunday, says Radio Vanuatu News.

Daily Post reports the Vanua’aku Pati Congress going ahead on 5 and 6 September despite the efforts of Minister Harry Iauko to delay it.