By Timothy Achariam | The Edge Markets

Two top officials of rubber compound manufacturer GIIB Holdings Bhd have pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here to allegedly furnishing fake documents to auditor Grant Thornton Malaysia PLT in relation to the sale of RM2.95 million worth of machinery that did not exist.

The duo — chief executive officer cum executive chairman Tai Boon Wee and executive director Wong Ping Kiong — were hauled to the court by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Friday to face the charges.

Ping Kiong pleaded not guilty to four charges of giving fake documents to Grant Thornton before judge Suzana Hussain. The charges were framed under section 18 of the MACC Act 2009, which states that it is an offence to provide documents such as receipts/invoices that are false or contain false details with the intention deceive the principal (office).

In the first charge read out to her in the court, Ping Kiong allegedly gave a fake GIIB debit note to Grant Thornton audit manager Tam Siew Ping on Dec 30, 2019.

The note contained false information on the sale of machinery by GIIB Rubber Compound Sdn Bhd for RM2.95 million to Top Rate Engineering Works, which never happened. This was to allegedly mislead Grant Thornton.

According to the second, third and fourth charges, Ping Kiong allegedly acted in the same fashion by giving a directors’ circular from GIIB’s subsidiary — Goodway Rubber Industries Sdn Bhd — to Grant Thornton involving the sale of the RM2.95 million worth of machinery to Top Rate Engineering Works. The prosecution claimed that the sale never happened, and that money never changed hands.

If found guilty, Ping Kiong could be jailed up to 20 years and fined RM10,000, or five times the value of the bribe, whichever is higher.

Tai, meanwhile, was charged with colluding with Ping Kiong. His charge comes under section 28(1)(c) of the MACC Act, which involves abetting or engaging in a criminal conspiracy to commit any offence under the Act.

If found guilty, he could face the same punishment as Ping Kiong.

The two, who were represented by lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad, and allowed to post bail — RM60,000 for Ping Kiong and RM50,000 for Tai — also surrendered their passports.

The judge set Feb 28 for the next management of the case.

In a statement later on Friday, GIIB said the legal team representing the directors had studied the relevant documents, including an independent forensic audit conducted by Ferrier Hodgson MH Sdn Bhd that was presented to GIIB’s board of directors on Oct 19, 2022, and is satisfied that the directors have a good case and will vigorously defend the charges.

“The accusations and allegations have been proven baseless and unfounded with external audits and forensic audits by respected independent firms. The information in these financial reports should assist in the investigation and provide clarity. We categorically deny such allegations and we will be exploring all legal avenues to defend both our names and the company’s,” said Tai.

GIIB made headlines throughout 2022 for its dispute with one of its directors — Wong Weng Yew — over allegations of fraud and misconduct, which resulted in police reports filed against each other and escalated into legal suits.

In December, Tai, together with Ping Kiong, and Teng Pik Sun — who collectively own more than 10% of GIIB’s shares, had requisitioned an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to be convened to remove Weng Yew. The group has then set Jan 19 for the EGM.

Weng Yew, meanwhile, recently ceased as a substantial shareholder of the group after selling 35.47 million shares on Dec 9 — representing 5.999% in GIIB — leaving him with less than 0.1% stake.

While the filings did not show to whom he offloaded the stake to, Yee Voon Hon, a fellow director and GIIB’s largest shareholder, raised his shareholding in GIIB to 21.418% comprising 126.64 million after acquiring 35.47 million shares on the same day.

GIIB shares closed half a sen lower at 11 sen on Friday, giving it a market capitalisation of RM65.04 million.