SC’s ‘inconclusive’ statement on Azam Baki case unacceptable, says Gomez

Academic Prof Dr Edmund Terence Gomez. - Filepic/The Star

PETALING JAYA: The government should establish an independent inquiry to investigate the allegations against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner, after the Securities Commission (SC) was unable to conclusively determine the validity of these allegations, says Academic Prof Dr Edmund Terence Gomez.

Gomez, who had resigned from the MACC Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel in protest over the panel's inaction towards the allegations against Tan Sri Azam Baki, pointed out that the brevity of the SC’s statement is shocking and its conclusion into the investigation is unacceptable.

“The SC’s unstated reason why it was unable to conclusively determine the validity of the allegations against Azam raises a very disturbing question: Why is it that all attempts to institute an investigation into these allegations have not resulted in an in-depth and open enquiry?

“Although these allegations were raised by the media, discussed in Parliament, and brought to the attention of the MACC’s Advisory Board, no independent investigation was undertaken.

“Now that an investigation has finally been undertaken, we are told by the SC that it is unable to determine if Azam had breached the law,” he said in a statement on Wednesday (Jan 19).

Gomez noted that this series of events, where investigations have been hampered or have not reached a satisfactory conclusion, indicates why it was imperative that Azam should have been instructed to go on garden leave when the allegations first emerged.

“The government has not acted decisively on this issue, allowing MACC’s Chief Commissioner to remain in office while he was being investigated.

“What is now required, given the SC’s inability to provide an informed view of the allegations against Azam Baki, is that the government should immediately establish an independent committee to review this matter,” he said.

On Tuesday (Jan 18), in relation to the trading account of Azam, the SC had said that it was not able to conclusively establish that a breach under Section 25(4) of the Securities Central Depository Act 1991 (SICDA) had occurred.

Recently, allegations had surfaced that Azam owned a substantial number of shares in two companies between 2015 and 2016 when he was the MACC director of investigations.

On Jan 5, during a press conference, Azam had maintained that he did not commit any wrongdoing nor was there a conflict of interest on his part and had also explained to the anti-corruption advisory board panel on the matter.

Azam had claimed that his trading account was used by his brother for his shares trading, adding that the shares were bought in the open market and were financed by his brother.

He had noted that the shares of the companies which his brother purchased were not involved in any investigations carried out by the MACC, noting that all the shares had also been transferred to his brother's own trading account.

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