'Datuk' arrested in connection with falsified palm oil sales tax declarations

'Datuk' arrested in connection with falsified palm oil sales tax declarations
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KOTA KINABALU (May 20): A man professing to be a "Datuk" was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Sabah on Friday for investigations into a case related to 'protecting' the falsification of crude palm oil sales tax declarations every month to the Sabah Ministry of Finance.

Sabah MACC director Datuk S. Karunanithy said the arrest of the ‘Datuk’ followed the arrest of a senior government official and a retiree on May 18 for investigation in the same case under Section 17 (a) of the MACC Act 2009.

“The 66-year-old suspect, who is a former civil servant, was arrested at the Sabah MACC office at about 4pm when he turned up to give his statement.

“A remand application against the suspect is expected to be made at the Kota Kinabalu Magistrate's Court on Saturday,” he said in a statement here.

At the same time, he reminded oil palm mill operators throughout Sabah to come forward to assist the investigation as the submission of a false declaration is an offence under Section 18 of the MACC Act 2009, which provides for imprisonment not exceeding 20 years and a fine five times the value of false details or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if convicted.

Meanwhile, State Secretary Datuk Seri Safar Untong said the State’s Ministry of Finance had been instructed to look into and make necessary improvements to the existing system and procedures that could provide any room for falsification of sales tax declarations.

He said the State government would definitely give full cooperation to the MACC in its investigation into the case.

“I view seriously the case involving the arrest of any civil servant of the state,” he said in a statement.

On May 18, a senior officer in a State government department and a government retiree were arrested by the Sabah MACC for allegedly soliciting and accepting bribes amounting to about RM700,000 from a palm oil mill company in return for 'protecting' the falsification of crude palm oil sales tax declarations every month to MOF.

The court allowed a seven-day remand for the two individuals from May 19 to 25.