By V. Anbalagan | Free Malaysia Today

Wong Ping Kiong and Tai Boon Wee succeeded in striking out charges brought against them relating to the alleged issuance of falsified documents to deceive audit firm Grant Thornton Malaysia PLT. — BERNAMA

The High Court has acquitted two former top executives of GIIB Holdings Bhd charged with intending to deceive audit firm Grant Thornton Malaysia PLT over the sale of machinery through the issuance of allegedly fake documents.

Lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad said Justice Azhar Abdul Hamid allowed a motion to acquit the rubber compound manufacturer’s former executive director Wong Ping Kiong and its former CEO Tai Boon Wee.

In January, the duo had pleaded not guilty in the sessions court here to charges alleging they had falsified a debit note and three directors’ circular resolutions in order to deceive the audit firm.

“The court agrees with the defence and allows the relief to set aside the charges after reading the submissions and affidavits,” Azhar said in his decision.

In motions to strike out the charges filed on May 5, the duo said the charges failed to disclose Grant Thornton’s financial interest in the documents.

In any case, they said the documents were not intended for the firm.

As such, they contended that Grant Thornton could not have been deceived in the manner alleged in the charges.

At the hearing of the motions, the duo’s lawyers also argued that the duties and responsibilities of an auditor under the Companies Act 2016 does not constitute an interest under section 18 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.

Wong, 60, was charged with four counts of giving fake documents to Grant Thornton audit manager Tam Siew Peng.

The charge was brought under section 18 of the MACC Act. Those convicted are liable to imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of RM10,000 or five times the value of the bribe, whichever is higher.

Tai, meanwhile, was charged under section 28(1)(c) of the same law with colluding with Wong in the commission of the alleged offence. If found guilty, he would have been liable to the same punishment as Wong.