Irwan Says Money is All There, Guan Eng Asks Where?

- Advertisement - [resads_adspot id="2"]

Government to open inquiry into missing RM18 billion GST refund.

  • Irwan to answer on why money from consolidated funds not transferred to trust fund, lodged report with MACC
  • Guan Eng says he has the paper and money trail to reveal who ordered the embezzlement of the input tax credit

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has called on former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah to reveal the whereabouts of the RM18 billion goods and services tax (GST) input tax credit that the latter said had been credited into the consolidated fund as stipulated under the Financial Procedure Act 1957.

Hari Anggara

“If it is there, then we want him to tell us where it is hidden. Perhaps he knows something we do not. So, [the question is] where has he hidden it as he was the Treasury secretary-general then. That is what we want to know,” he told reporters at the parliament lobby yesterday.

On Wednesday, Guan Eng said about RM18 billion or 93% of the RM19.4 billion input tax credit under the GST system since 2015 had gone missing.

Under the GST, businesses were allowed to claim credit for taxes paid on purchases two weeks after submission of documentation.

Over the last three years since the implementation of the GST on April 1, 2015, the gross amount collected was RM190 billion.

Of that, RM83 billion of input tax over the three years was supposed to go into a Trust Account, but only RM63.6 billion made it into that fund and was eventually refunded to businesses. The remaining amount was RM19.4 billion.

However, RM18 billion is allegedly “missing” as only RM1.48 billion was left in the Trust Account.

Irwan reportedly said the money, like other revenues from the Royal Malaysian Customs Department, Inland Revenue Board and dividends from Petroliam Nasional Bhd as well as police summonses, must be credited into a consolidated fund.

He added that all monies from the collection of the GST would be accounted for, stressing that there would be no missing funds unlike what had been alleged by Guan Eng.

“Every sen is accounted for. It is the people’s money, which is why it is much more important to be credited to the consolidated fund.

“When it is needed [including for input tax credit under the GST, only] then it will be taken out [from the consolidated fund],” Irwan, who was the Treasury secretary-general from 2011 to May 14, 2018, reportedly said.

Meanwhile, Guan Eng said an open public inquiry, to be headed by an independent established personality, will be conducted after an internal inquiry headed by current treasury secretary-general Datuk Seri Ismail Bakar is completed.

“It is not impossible for us to find who ordered the embezzlement of the input tax credit (ITC) because I have all the paper and money trail records.

“I will propose for an open inquiry to the PM after internal investigation is over,” he told the Dewan Rakyat.

Guan Eng reiterated that the findings of the internal inquiry will be submitted to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“We want to have something concrete first. That is why we will do an internal inquiry by the secretary-general (Ismail), who was not involved in the [previous] decision-making process.

“We will then submit the report to Dr Mahathir. My suggestion is for there to be an open inquiry headed by an independent established personality, otherwise those in favour of Irwan and members of the previous government would say that the internal inquiry is biased,” he added.

Lim said the reasons behind the unpaid RM19.4 billion are best known by Irwan.

“The former Treasury secretary-general will be called to testify on why the funds from the consolidated funds are not transferred to the trust fund, which would have been used for tax refund purposes. The main question is why he ordered such (transfer), and who ordered him to do so,” Lim said yesterday.

Asked if the government would lodge reports with the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on the alleged missing RM18 billion GST input tax credit, Guan Eng said it depends on Dr Mahathir and the cabinet’s recommendations.

“We can make a report, but we will see the outcome of the internal and open public inquiries first. However, the facts will be deliberated over what is right and wrong, and not lies and falsehood. If we do an open public inquiry, then I think no one will question it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Irwan lodged a report with the MACC this morning on the “missing GST funds” allegations.

Mohd Sahar Misni/The Star