Malaysian Customs revenue hit by fake receipts

PETALING JAYA • Several syndicates are forging the Malaysian Customs Official Receipt (COR) and siphoning hundreds of millions of ringgit in revenue that is due to the department.

The syndicates, fronted by forwarding agents, churned out fake receipts that are almost identical to the genuine ones.

The department has now formed a special task force to track down these syndicates, department director-general T. Subromaniam said.

He said the task force was probing over 100 forwarding agents that have been found forging Customs receipts for import and export companies.

The task force includes members of the National Revenue Recovery Enforcement team headed by the Attorney-General, the police, the central bank, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Inland Revenue Board.

"We are not ruling out the involvement of company officials as well as internal involvement (of Customs officers). Some of these import and export companies are also cheated in the process," Datuk Seri Subromaniam said.

Mr Subromaniam explained that the transaction value for shipped items may be RM1 million (S$325,000), for example, and the company would pay the forwarding agent the duty for this sum in good faith and receive the forged COR for this sum.

"But to Customs, the agents would forge documents and declare a lower value or other items which carry lower duties," he said.

Mr Subromaniam added that the forging activities were discovered through audits done by Customs.

"When we audit the books of some companies and check against the collection in the system, it doesn't tally, so we had to claim (the difference) from them. However, the companies claimed that they had paid the duty and even produced the CORs. But the CORs are forged ones," he added.

The forged receipts, said Mr Subromaniam, looked "exactly similar" to the genuine ones issued by Customs.

He urged companies to download a recently launched mobile application to check the actual duties, tariffs, and goods and services tax that need to be paid and the payment that has been made to Customs.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2017, with the headline 'Malaysian Customs revenue hit by fake receipts'. Print Edition | Subscribe