PM must set up independent task force on Azam case, says C4

PETALING JAYA: An independent task force must be set up by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to probe issues related to the share-trading account of Tan Sri Azam Baki, says the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4).

“Ismail Sabri must act immediately to convene a high-level task force to investigate the ‘Azam-gate’ fiasco,” said C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel in a statement on Tuesday afternoon (Jan 18).

She reiterated C4’s position that only a full and independent probe will suffice to also establish potential breaches of public servants’ asset declaration laws and circulars as well as source of funds.

Her remarks came following a statement by the Securities Commission (SC) saying that the regulatory body was unable to ascertain whether there was a breach of regulations in relation to the controversy over Azam’s shares trading account.

Gabriel urged for the findings of the SC inquiry to be made public.

“The SC must make public its findings and show how it has arrived at this uncertain conclusion,” she added.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Opposition lawmakers such as Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil, who noted that the Parliamentary Select Committee to probe the matter, which was initially scheduled for Wednesday (Jan 19), had been postponed indefinitely.

Meanwhile, Azam said he was grateful that the SC had found no wrongdoing on his part.

“I was informed by the SC that investigations on the matter have been concluded and therefore, the commission decided to close the inquiry,” said Azam in a statement on Tuesday.

“Therefore, I will continue my responsibilities as the MACC chief commissioner in battling graft,” he added.

In a statement on Tuesday (Jan 18) afternoon, the SC said it was not able to determine whether there was a breach of regulations in relation to the trading account of Azam.

SC said that as a capital market regulator, its regulatory remit was set out under the Securities Commission Malaysia Act 1993 (SCA), Capital Markets and Services Act 2007 (CMSA), and the Securities Industry (Central Depositories) Act 1991 (SICDA).

“The said inquiry relates to the issue of whether a potential breach under Section 25(4) of the SICDA occurred. Section 25(4) provides that a trading account must be opened in the name of the beneficial owner or authorised nominee.

“The SC has concluded its enquiry and based on the evidence gathered, the SC is not able to conclusively establish that a breach under Section 25(4) of the SICDA has occurred,” SC added.

The controversy involves a substantial amount of shares bought from Gets Global Bhd and Excel Force MSC Bhd between 2015 and 2016 when Azam was the MACC director of investigations.

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