Datuk nabbed over evasion of crude palm oil sales tax

KOTA KINABALU: Graft busters have arrested a “Datuk” in connection with the multimillion-ringgit evasion of Sabah’s crude palm oil sales tax. The arrest of the 66-year-old suspect yesterday comes after the detention of two state government officials, one of whom had retired just two days ago.

According to sources from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the Datuk is a former civil servant.

“He was arrested when he came to provide his statement (over the tax evasion case) at the Sabah MACC headquarters at about 4pm today (yesterday),” the source said.

Sabah MACC director Datuk S. Karunanithy confirmed the arrest when contacted.

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 the Magistrate’s Court here today.

Karunanithy urged oil palm operators from Sabah to come forward and assist MACC in its probe.

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

On 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 two suspects, from May 19 to 25.

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