Malaysia's anti-graft board clears chief over share-buying controversy

Mr Azam Baki said he planned to take legal action against those who had defamed him. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The advisory board of Malaysia's anti-graft commission on Wednesday (Jan 5) cleared the country's top graft buster over a share-buying controversy.

Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang, chairman of the advisory board of the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said there was neither pecuniary interest nor conflict of interest on the part of Mr Azam Baki, the MACC's chief commissioner, when he acquired the shares of two companies in 2015.

In a much-anticipated news conference, Mr Abu Zahar said Tan Sri Azam did not buy the shares for himself, but that his younger brother Nasir Baki had used the chief commissioner's trading account to buy the shares.

Opposition lawmakers have pressed the MACC to clarify the matter after allegations surfaced that Mr Azam owned a substantial amount of shares in Gets Global Bhd and Excel Force MSC Bhd between 2015 and 2016, when he was the MACC director of investigations.

Mr Abu Zahar said the MACC board met on Nov 24 last year and summoned Mr Azam to explain the allegations.

"In the meeting, Azam explained to me and the rest of the board that his brother had used his (Azam's) share trading account to acquire the shares in 2015. The shares were bought on the open market and there is no conflict of interest there," he said on Wednesday.

Mr Abu Zahar said that the board was also told that the shares had been transferred to Mr Nasir's own trading account later in the same year.

"After a lengthy discussion, the board members are of the opinion that Tan Sri Azam did not have any pecuniary interest on the said shares," he said.

"The board is satisfied with the explanation given and found that there is no criminal conduct or conflict of interest on the part of Tan Sri Azam on this matter," added Mr Abu Zahar.

Mr Azam told the media: "I explained to the panel that my trading account was used by my brother for his shares tradings and I have no interest nor have any part in this. The shares were bought in the open market and my brother had financed the purchases on his own.

"The shares of the companies which he purchased were not involved in any investigations carried out by the MACC. All the shares had been transferred to my brother's own trading account," he added.

The top graft buster also answered allegations that he controlled several companies, describing the accusations as an "outright and total lie".

"This accusation is meant to create a negative perception towards me as the chief commissioner and also the MACC," he said.

Mr Azam said he planned to take legal action against those who had defamed him over the share issue, and those who had tarnished his reputation and that of the MACC.

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