Will Najib leave blame with Irwan over unpaid GST, tax refunds? Guan Eng asks

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Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng asked today if Datuk Seri Najib Razak will still deny his involvement in the ‘missing’ RM19.2 billion Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng asked today if Datuk Seri Najib Razak will still deny his involvement in the “missing” RM19.2 billion Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund, amid a police probe over the issue.

Lim said all blame will fall with former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah for acting beyond his powers, if Najib continues to claim so.

“If the police believe Najib did not give approval, then Irwan will bear all wrongdoings. Not just the criminal offence of breach of trust, but also abusing or acting beyond his powers by appropriating the power of a minister,” Lim said in a statement.

Lim explained that only a finance minister would have the power to approve the RM19.25 billion to not be transferred into the GST refunds fund or for the refunds not to be made within two weeks as stipulated by the law.

He also pointed out that Irwan also chaired the meeting responsible for the RM16 billion of excess income tax and real property gains tax refunds.

“Will Najib also claim he is unaware or uninvolved in the decision, and everything was decided by Irwan without the knowledge of the then finance minister?” Lim asked.

Last week, Lim pressed Najib to explain three matters related to the missing refunds, asking his predecessor to say if he gave approval for GST refunds to be delayed beyond the two weeks that had been the legal requirement.

He also asked whether Najib permitted Irwan to transfer less than the amounts requested by the Customs Department, urged Najib to say if he consented to the funds meant for GST refunds being booked directly as revenue for immediate spending.

Najib answered “no” to all three questions.

The minister previously disclosed in Parliament that billions of ringgit was missing from the government’s trust account and accused the Barisan Nasional government of “robbing” businesses of this sum.

Umno leaders and Irwan then lodged reports with both the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission over Lim’s allegation.

Lim has said he has since given his statement to the police for their investigations.

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