No instructions for audit review on RM1m received by Shahrir, says IRB officer

An officer of the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) told the High Court today that the IRB did not conduct an audit regarding the RM1 million allegedly received by Tan Sri Shahrir Ab Samad (picture) from Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Deputy Head of the Celebrity, Public and Various Entertainers Desk Audit Unit, IRB Assessment Division, Tuan Zulkfli Tuan Lah, 48, said there was no instruction from a superior officer for him to carry out the review following a complaint lodged by an investigating officer of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

He said this when cross-examined by lawyer Datuk Syed Faisal Al-Edros Syed Abdullah Al-Edros who is representing Shahrir in the former Johor Bahru MP’s trial on a charge of failing to declare to IRB RM1 million which he received from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak via an AmIslamic Bank Berhad cheque dated Nov 27, 2013.

Syed Faisal Al-Edros: Tuan Zul (Zulkifli) informed a superior officer that Tan Sri Shahrir had received RM1 million as told by the investigating officer, but there was no instruction from the officer to carry out an audit review on the money?

Tuan Zulkifli: No instruction because the complaint (from the MACC officer) was made verbally and not in writing.

The 21st prosecution witness said personally he agreed that Shahrir was charged in court before investigations were carried out by the IRB, adding that Shahrir and the party who deposited the money (RM1 million) were not interviewed.

Tuan Zulkifli also conceded with the lawyer’s suggestion that the IRB did not implement nine necessary measures to check the status of the RM1 million whether it should be reported as an income or otherwise because there were no instructions to do so by his superior.

He said the IRB should have issued a letter to the taxpayer requesting additional documents for an audit and if the board does not receive the documents, the taxpayer should have been called in for an interview to determine the veracity of the declaration, among others.

He said the nine measures should have been implemented before the charge is brought against Shahrir.

Tuan Zulkfli also agreed with Shahrir’s other lawyer, Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin that the accused was not charged under Section 113 of the Income Tax Act 1967 and no penalty was imposed under the section.

According to Tuan Zulkifli, the IRB has never conducted an additional assessment on the self-assessment made by Shahrir for the year 2013.

“To me, for an offence like this (not reporting income), there needs to be a review first, if (there is) something wrong then we take action. If there is no action (review), we cannot confirm whether the individual reported (income) or vice versa,” he said.

The witness also agreed that in declaring an income, the taxpayer himself determines the category of money he receives, whether it is an income or a reimbursement.

Shahrir, 72, is alleged to have been involved in money laundering by not reporting his actual income in the income tax return form with regard to the RM1 million, which contravenes Section 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967.

He allegedly committed the act at the IRB Duta Branch, Government Office Complex, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim here on April 25, 2014.

The charge, framed under Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, provides for a maximum fine of RM5 million or imprisonment of up to five years, or both, on conviction.

Hearing before Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin continues on Dec 13. — BERNAMA