Cleric probed by tax office on Saudi cash
Richard Kerbaj/The Australian
A SENIOR Muslim cleric working for the tax office in Canberra is being investigated over accusations he failed to pay income tax on thousands of dollars he allegedly received from the Saudi embassy.
An ACT Islamic organisation has also accused the Palestinian-born imam Mohammad Swaiti of being radical, anti-Western inhis religious teachings and failing to declare payments he received from officiating at wedding ceremonies.
Documents obtained by The Australian reveal an Australian Tax Office investigation into Sheik Swaiti over allegations by senior Muslim community leaders that he failed to declare his clerical allowances of up to $US30,000 ($37,700) a year, which were paid to him by the Saudi Government.
The tax office sent Islamic Society of ACT president Sabrija Poskovic a letter in reply to written allegations made by him and his community regarding Sheik Swaiti.
“I refer to your letter relating to the imam of your mosque, Mohammad Swaiti, who also happens to be a tax office employee,” the ATO’s letter to Mr Poskovic says.
“I have passed your concerns to the relevant area of the tax office and I expect to be able to respond to you by 6 February 2007.”
Documents provided to the tax office, which accuse Sheik Swaiti of being “very fanatic and radical person in his Islamic views”, follow factional divisions within Canberra’s Muslim community over issues including Canberra’s only mosque.