IPOH — Two businessmen claimed trial at the Sessions Court here yesterday to multiple counts of submitting false Goods and Services Tax (GST) statements for refunds amounting to more than RM900,000.
They are believed to be the first to be charged for the offence under Section 89(1)(b)of the Goods and Services Tax Act.
Businessman Ahmad Zawawi Abdul Rahim, 49, and fish breeder Mok Siew Khuen, 49, were slapped with seven and five charges respectively.
Ahmad Zawawi is accused of making false entries in his GST statements related to RM588,808 of input taxes with an intent to acquire credit for input tax towards output tax between Sept 2, 2015 and May 7 this year.
Mok is accused of making false entries in his GST statements for RM356,314.50 with the same intent between Jan 8 and May 6 this year.
If found guilty, they could face a fine between 10 and 20 times the amount of tax or a jail term not exceeding five years or both.
Charged separately, both defendants indicated that they understood the charges when they were read by the court interpreter.
N.P. Ramachandran represented Moh while Awatif Ahmad Bashir acted on behalf of Ahmad Zawawi.
The prosecution was represented by deputy public prosecutors Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran, who is also the Customs Department legal divisions director, and Farah Ezlin Yusop Khan.
Initially, Raja Rozela offered a bail amounting to 10 times the amount of input taxes involved for each separate charge.
Given that the defendants could face a hefty fine upon conviction, Raja Rozela said the bail needed to be enough to dissuade them from attempting to escape.
Ramachandran challenged this, saying that his client had cooperated fully with the authorities, requesting instead for a combined bail of RM10,000 for all charges.
Awatif requested a RM5,000 bail to be issued for his client’s charges, telling the court that her client had five school-going children and an ailing mother to take care of.
After hearing both sides, Sessions Court judge Ikmal Hishan Mohd Tajuddin set the bail at RM700,000 for Ahmad Zawawi and RM500,000 for Mok, before setting Sept 30 for mention.
Ramachandran and Awatif said they would be appealing the bail amount at the Ipoh High Court.