Tax evasion. Photo credit:

Tax evasion. Photo credit:

The Government will form a Task force to investigate the $500 million tax loss revealed by outgoing Minister of Forestry and Research, Hon. Bodo Dettke.

It comprises of officials from the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Forestry & Research, Inland Revenue, Customs, Police and the Central Bank of Solomon Islands.

A Government statement today says, the task force will be mandated to investigate the revelation by Mr. Dettke, on the discrepancies in export duties and withholding tax to Customs and Inland Revenue.

It says, subject to details of these allegations, Cabinet may consider the appointment of a Parliamentary Special Select Committee to investigate this serious matter.

The government commends the move by Mr. Dettke to expose details on the potential defrauding of the Solomon Islands Government.

Meanwhile, the statement said the revelation has no direct bearing on Mr. Dettke’s reshuffling, except to avoid any potential conflict of interest that would arise if he were to remain the Minister forForestry and Research.

It said independent investigations into the alleged underpayments by logging companies will continue to be pursued by the incoming Minister Hon. Bartholomew Parapolo, including major reforms proposed for the forestry sector.

The exposure of such a huge revenue loss will form part of the government’s ongoing reforms in the forestry sector.

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