PETALING JAYA: Former Treasury secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah will be called in for questioning by the police over the income tax department’s failure to refund billions worth of taxpayers’ money.
This was confirmed by Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Amar Singh.
“Investigations into the matter have started. He (Irwan) will be called in soon.
“Let us record statements from others first,” Amar told FMT, adding that anyone linked to the case would be called in for questioning.
Attempts to contact Irwan have been unsuccessful so far.
The matter surfaced after Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said RM16.046 billion in outstanding tax refunds had not been returned by the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN).
Lim said 1,653,786 companies, individuals and foundations were involved, adding that the outstanding tax refunds were due to a shortage of transfers from the direct tax revenue collected to the Tax Refunds Trust Fund (TRTF).
Lim also said tax refunds could only be made using the balance in the TRTF.
According to the New Straits Times, LHDN is being investigated for criminal breach of trust (CBT). The case is being investigated under Section 409 of the Penal Code, which deals with CBT by public servants or agents.
The act states, among others, that anyone who commits CBT shall be punished with whipping and imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than 20 years. The person is also liable to a fine.
Former second finance minister Johari Abdul Ghani yesterday told FMT that LHDN should explain the failure to refund the RM16 billion in excess income tax and real property gains tax over the past six years.
Johari also noted that Irwan had been chairman of LHDN at the time, adding that this was an operational matter between the Treasury Department and the LHDN management team.
He said the government practised cash accounting, not accrual accounting, meaning that any refunds or claims would be considered as current year claims.
“I am surprised that companies did not make claims for their refunds even after six years,” Johari said. “LHDN should explain.”