Datuk nabbed in crude palm oil sales tax evasion case

KOTA KINABALU: Graft busters have arrested a former public servant with a Datuk title over alleged evasion of millions of ringgit in Sabah's crude palm oil sales tax.

The arrest of the 66-year-old suspect on Friday (May 20) followed the detention of two state government officials, including a retiree, two days ago.

According to sources from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the Datuk was arrested when he came to give a statement on the tax evasion matter at the state MACC headquarters at 4pm.

When contacted, Sabah MACC director Datuk S. Karunanithy confirmed the arrest.

He said the suspect will be investigated under Section 17(a) of the MACC Act 2009.

He added that MACC will apply for a remand order against the suspect at a Magistrate’s Court here on Saturday (May 21).

ALSO READ: Senior govt official, retiree nabbed for receiving RM700,000 in bribes

Karunanithy urged palm oil industry players with knowledge of the matter to come forward and assist the MACC in its probe.

“False declarations (on sales taxes) are an offence under Section 18 of the MACC Act 2009,” he said.

On Wednesday (May 18), a senior official with the state Finance Ministry and a retired senior government officer were arrested in connection with the case.

They were believed to have received RM700,000 in bribes from a palm oil mill in Lahad Datu to "overlook" the mill's falsification of the quantity of crude palm oil produced to evade state taxes worth about RM2mil a month since 2015.

The court has since granted a seven-day remand order against the first two suspects, beginning from Thursday (May 19) to May 25.

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