Set up independent inquiry to probe Azam Baki shares issue, urge civil society groups

PETALING JAYA: The Securities Commission (SC), along with an independent inquiry, should investigate the issue surrounding Tan Sri Azam Baki’s trading account to determine whether the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner had broken government rules, urged six civil society organisations.

The statement released on Sunday (Jan 23), was jointly released by Institut Demokrasi dan Hal Ehwal Ekonomi (Ideas), Transparency International Malaysia, Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4), RasuahBusters, Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia, Bersih and Undi18.

All had said in the statement that the SC had declared that Azam had managed the shares trading account himself, which contradicted Azam's statement earlier that the account was used by his brother to avoid a conflict of interest.

“The Securities Commission should clarify whether any shares in Tan Sri Azam Zaki’s trading account were purchased and paid by his brother. If so, there should be a document executed by Tan Sri Azam Zaki authorising his brother to use his trading account.

“If this is true, then Tan Sri Azam Baki, who at the material time in 2015 held the position of MACC investigation director, had purchased shares above RM100,000 in amount, which contravenes government rules,” said the civil society groups.

The statement noted that according to Section 10 of the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993, all civil servants are required to declare any purchase of shares to their Head of Department.

“Up to now, there has been no confirmation as to whether or not the mandatory asset declaration was carried out,” they said, adding that action needs to be taken should there be a breach of government rules.

The civil society organisations urged the government to provide clarity in the agency or government body that is responsible for apprehending civil servants who have acted against the government circular and disciplinary action that is to be taken.

“To uphold MACC’s integrity and to restore public trust in the anti-corruption body, MACC Commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki must step aside temporarily until an independent inquiry can conclusively prove, beyond any measure of reasonable doubt, that he did not breach any regulations as a bearer of public office,” they said, urging that the MACC should be reformed and made more independent.

Allegations recently 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, Azam said he had given permission to his younger brother to use his trading account to acquire the shares.

Azam said although he need not have declared the share trading as it was not done by him, he had informed his superiors of the matter at the time.

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