Thursday, May 26, 2022

Now, PH wants probe on MACC adviser

The Presidential Council says Abu Zahar Ujang should be placed on leave for the duration of the investigation.

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Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders today called for an investigation into the chairman of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) advisory board following his statement this week clearing MACC chief Azam Baki of conflict of interest in the purchase of company shares in 2015.

In a statement signed by PKR’s Anwar Ibrahim, Amanah’s Mohamad Sabu, DAP’s Lim Guan Eng and Upko’s Madius Tangau, they said the controversy had jeopardised MACC’s integrity and credibility at both the local and international level.

“The Presidential Council calls for the MACC chief as well as Anti-Corruption Advisory Board chairman Abu Zahar Ujang to be investigated by an independent body and placed on leave for the duration of the probe over the possible failure to carry out their duties in accordance with the law,” they said.

Zahar had said at a press conference on Wednesday that the board members were satisfied with Azam’s explanation of the matter.

He also said that no further investigation would be conducted, and that a royal commission of inquiry would not be necessary although the matter would be referred to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob following calls by opposition leaders for government action.

Azam himself said he would take legal action against those who had accused him over the matter, saying the shares in question had been transferred to his brother’s account.

He also spoke of an agenda to erode public trust in the anti-graft agency.

The Securities Commission Malaysia however said that Azam had gone against the law in sharing sharing central depositories accounts.

It said every securities account opened with a central depository must be in the name of the beneficial owner of the deposited securities or an authorised nominee.

It also said it would be in touch with the parties involved, including Azam, for an explanation and to verify the statements made.

The PH leaders said Zahar had too readily accepted the explanation given, and that a more open and thorough investigation should have been held as the matter involved the alleged purchase of shares worth millions of ringgit in public-listed companies.

“We repeat our stand that a full investigation should be carried out by an independent body with no links to the MACC, not just against the current chief commissioner but also those who served in the past.”

They also urged the police to open an investigation paper to look into whether any laws had been broken.

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