KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — Two former office-bearers of the Persatuan Wanita Berjaya Sejati Malaysia (PWBSM) were fined RM3,500 each by the Sessions Court here today for using forged payment vouchers amounting to RM1,600 for the Malaysian Indian Community Transformation Unit (Mitra) fund.

Judge Azura Alwi meted out the fine, in default five months’ jail, on former chairperson J. Lalitha Mani, 48, and former treasurer B. Shivaranjani, 42, after they pleaded guilty to the charge.

They were jointly charged with using two forged documents, namely the “Volunteer Services For Program Pemerkasaan Wanita India” dated October 11, 2020, issued by PWBSM to Priscilla Rachael, 27, and G .Govindan, 44, for Mitra funds.

The offence was committed at Mitra, Ministry of National Unity in Putrajaya on October 26, 2020, according to Section 471 of the Penal Code, which provides imprisonment for not more than two years, or fine, or both, if found guilty.

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According to the facts of the case, on July 28, 2020, Lalitha Mani, who was then PWBSM secretary and chairman of PWBSM and then treasurer Shivaranjani, on behalf of the association, signed an agreement to obtain grants amounting to RM12.1 million from Mitra under the Entrepreneurship and Career Development Programme for the Indian Community.

Mitra has paid the entire amount of the grant in stages between August 12, 2020 and January 19, 2021 and in return, PWBSM needed to provide reports to Mitra on the programme.

On October 26, 2020, Shivaranjani sent a report on the Implementation of the Women’s Empowerment Programme by PWBSM, dated October 20, 2020, which contained two forged payment vouchers to Mitra.

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Following an investigation, it was found that the recipients of the payment voucher, namely Priscilla and Govindan, never received any payment or signed the voucher.

Deputy public prosecutor from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Noor Syafina Mohd Radzuan prosecuted, while lawyer Devanandan S. Subramaniam represented the two accused. — Bernama