Azam to face line of questioning


KUALA LUMPUR: The share trading controversy surrounding Tan Sri Azam Baki (pic) will see the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner faced with a slew of questions in the coming days from various investigative bodies.

They will be asking Azam and his brother Nasir to explain the contentious ownership of the shares bought in the former’s name back in 2015, when he was MACC director of investigations.

The police, who have received multiple reports lodged against Azam, have handed over investigations to the Securities Commission (SC).

It is believed that the SC will be calling up Azam and Nasir for an interview in the next few days.

Azam has also been summoned to face the nine-person Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) for Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department next Wednesday.

While the investigating bodies will be seeking an explanation surrounding the ownership of the shares, Tan Sri Rais Yatim – who is chairman of the Special Committee on Corruption – said a core question that needs to be probed is on the declaration of assets.

Rais said the declaration of assets for government officers, including shares, is governed by the 1993 and 2002 civil service circulars.

“The civil service circulars of 1993 and 2002 clearly state that public servants must declare assets including shares. So, the core question in Azam’s case is that, had they been declared?

“The purchase of shares is an individual right. Anyone can buy shares.

“However, in the 2002 circular, it is stated that the amount cannot exceed RM100,000.

“So, was this made known? The investigating body must probe this and get the real facts,” he told a press conference in Parliament here after chairing a Special Committee on Corruption (SCC) meeting.

Rais said the committee is recommending an investigation be launched into the case and it has conveyed this to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

“One of the main roles of our committee is to advise the prime minister on matters pertaining to corruption. We will be having a meeting with the prime minister soon to submit our report and recommendations,” he added.

Rais, who is also Dewan Negara president, added that investigations must also ascertain whether the shares purchased by Azam six years ago were for himself or another person.

Also present at the press conference were other members of the SCC: Senator Zaiedi Suhaili, Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim and Bukit Bendera MP Wong Hon Wai.

The SCC is an oversight body that monitors the MACC.

Rais also said that Azam, whom he noted had pledged to cooperate with any probe, should go on leave while under investigation.

“The usual practice is that when a government officer is investigated for wrongdoing, normally they are suspended from work.

“But there are views out there saying that this case is not criminal, but more of an act of misconduct.

“While we feel that it is best if he (Azam) goes on leave while investigations are ongoing, it is a decision for the Public Services Commission to make,” said Rais.

Allegations recently surfaced that Azam owned a substantial number of shares in Gets Global Bhd as well as Excel Force MSC Bhd between 2015 and 2016 when he was the MACC director of investigations.

Azam maintained that he did not commit any wrongdoing and was prepared to face any investigations if the need arose.

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