Muda calls Azam Baki’s explanation ‘troubling’, fears scandal will erode public trust in MACC

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Muda’s central executive committee said today it was troubled and disappointed by the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board’s (LPPR) explanation that had seemingly cleared Tan Sri Azam Baki of any wrongdoing.  — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Muda’s central executive committee said today it was troubled and disappointed by the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board’s (LPPR) explanation that had seemingly cleared Tan Sri Azam Baki of any wrongdoing. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — The Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) has called for the formation of an independent body to investigate allegations of corruption against the chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

The party’s central executive committee said today it was troubled and disappointed by the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board’s (LPPR) explanation that had seemingly cleared Tan Sri Azam Baki of any wrongdoing.

The LPPR had not indicated that it would back calls for an official investigation.

“The explanation that has been provided is evidently in contravention of the Service Circular regulating ownership and declaration of assets by a civil servant, as well as the Securities Industry (Central Depositories) Act 1991 (SICDA),” the party said in a statement.

The absence of an investigation will likely call the integrity of the agency into question, it added.

Muda said the incident has placed the MACC at risk of losing public trust since the commission should be the gold-standard for anti-corruption efforts in Malaysia.

“Muda demands that an investigation be conducted on the relevant parties by an independent body to preserve the reputation of the MACC,” it said, adding that the independent body should answer to and be monitored by Parliament.

Azam should also be made to go on garden leave to assure the public of the independence and transparency of the investigative process, the party’s leaders said.

Muda is the latest in the growing chorus calling for a full investigation to be launched against Azam.

At a press conference held almost two weeks after news about his shares in multiple companies surfaced yesterday, the MACC chief commissioner maintained that he had done nothing wrong, and that the shares were already declared to the LPPR.

It is understood that the shares in question had already been transferred back to Azam’s brother, Nasir Baki, in 2015 — based on a statement by Anti-Corruption Advisory Board chairman Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang at the same press conference yesterday.

Abu Zahar had vouched for Azam at the press conference, saying that the board had cleared Azam of any wrongdoing or conflict of interest.

The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) said earlier this evening it will be calling in Azam Baki for questioning over alleged violation of stock trading laws.

Citing Section 25 of the Securities Industry (Central Depositories) Act (SICDA), the SC said every securities account opened with a central depository must be in the name of the beneficial owner of the deposited securities or in the name of an authorised nominee.

The regulatory authority further wrote that Section 29A of SICDA stipulates that all dealings in securities shall be effected only by the beneficial owner of the securities or an authorised nominee.

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