Photo of Goh Thien Phong from Straits Times
Photo of Goh Thien Phong from Straits Times

According to the court trial against the opposition MPs yesterday (Oct 15), accounting firm Pricewatercoopers (PwC) admitted that it has falsified allegations against the Opposition-held town council in its 2015 audit report.

When questioned by defence lawyers how did PwC came out with the allegation of “double-charging” without providing evidence, PwC partner Goh Thien Phong briefly pointed to the KPMG report but he was not able to explain and eventually admitted that the baseless allegation was made by PwC.

This prompted the defence lawyers to conclude that the PwC audit is prejudiced but accountant Goh Thien Phong was defiant and shot back that it is “the defence’s view”.

The court later heard that PwC published its condemning audit report without seeking explanation from relevant parties. The Malaysian national then said “there is no need” because his work is to check whether there has been any improper payment and not to furnish details behind any breach.

PwC Goh Thien Phong repeatedly referred to the other accounting firm KPMG, saying that they would pick up the same issues even without him hearing the managing agent out. The auditor remained defiant to the end, saying that he would not change any part of the report even after seeking answers from the managing agent.

KPMG and PwC have been the leading prosecution witnesses in the persecution trial against the 3 leading Workers’ Party MPs. The ruling party government paid an undisclosed sum to the two accounting firm to stand as prosecution in a bid to bankrupt and unseat the opposition MPs.

Despite being lead prosecution witnesses, KPMG and PwC appear to be tainted with corruptions and shoddy audit work following their fines in UK. The two firms were fined several millions in UK for publishing sub par audit reports, leading to record losses from investors and pensioners. In Malaysia, PwC had to retract its audit report for stolen Malaysian state funds 1MDB after the country’s former Prime Minister lost political powers in the 2018 General Election.