PUTRAJAYA: Top graft buster Tan Sri Azam Baki has clapped back at lawyer Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali, saying that he was merely responding to Aman Palestin Berhad’s demand for their frozen accounts to be released.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner said he had not received a letter from the non-government organisation on the issue.
"They made a press statement and demanded that MACC release their accounts. My statement earlier today was in response to the demand made by Aman Palestin," he said when contacted on Tuesday (Nov 28).
Newsreports quoted Muhammad Rafique - lawyer for Aman Palestin - as saying that rather than issuing a statement, the MACC should be responding to the notice sent by the organisation.
He said the letter was sent on Monday (Nov 27) but Aman Palestin had not received a reply either from the MACC chief commissioner nor from the director of the anti-money laundering division.
On Monday night, Aman Palestin said it was giving the MACC three days to release their frozen accounts or a legal suit would be filed.
In response to this, Azam said the MACC was prepared to reveal to the courts its justifications for freezing the organisation’s accounts.
On Nov 23, the MACC said over RM25mil in 42 bank accounts under Aman Palestin had been frozen following its investigation of allegations that the organisation misused public funds.
However, Muhammad Rafique claimed that not all of the accounts that were frozen belonged to the NGO.
Asked whether he would reply to Aman Palestin’s letter, Azam reiterated that he had not received it and that he was not obliged to reply.
"I will reply if there is a need for it," he said.
The chief commissioner did not rule out the possibility that several other accounts, suspected to be used for money laundering activities, would be frozen.
The MACC had initiated a probe into the NGO in October, following a report by a news portal, claiming that many stakeholders were dissatisfied with Aman Palestin’s approach to overseeing donation collections.