Saturday, May 21, 2022

MACC files police report, says claims against Azam false and unverified

MACC senior assistant commissioner says it is not an offence for a senior enforcement officer to own shares or be a company director.

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The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has urged the police to investigate an NGO activist for the publication of false news over articles accusing its chief commissioner Azam Baki of conflict of interest in the ownership of shares, MalaysiaNow has learnt.

In the report sighted by MalaysiaNow, Mohan Munusamy, MACC’s senior assistant commissioner, said the allegations by Lalitha Kunaratnam were not only factually wrong, but also implied that senior enforcement officials are corrupt just because of their involvement in business.

“I am aware that it is not an offence for a senior enforcement officer to own shares or be a company director, and it is not at all prohibited by the law in Malaysia,” he said.

The report said the claims against Azam were “false, baseless and malicious”, and that the articles by Lalitha, who is linked to the group C4 Center headed by NGO activist Cynthia Gabriel, were written with the sole aim of tarnishing the country’s enforcement bodies and officers.

“I find that the author of the articles made false statements without any attempt to verify, drawing her own conclusions that all senior enforcers would abuse power and are corrupt when they own stocks or are involved in business,” Mohan added.

On Thursday, Azam sent a letter of demand to Lalitha, hours after threatening legal action over her claims.

He also said he had done no wrong in allowing his brother, Nasir Baki, to conduct business using his account to buy shares on the open market.

MACC’s advisory board meanwhile said it found no wrongdoing committed by Azam, with its chairman Abu Zahar Ujang saying they were satisfied with his explanation of the matter.

Following this, Pakatan Harapan leaders attacked both Azam and Zahar, calling for the duo to be placed on leave as well as to be investigated alongside all previous MACC chief commissioners.

Azam, who took over from Latheefa Koya in March 2020, has four decades of experience fighting graft including during his time in MACC’s precursor, the Anti-Corruption Agency.

Trained in engineering and law, Azam is one of MACC’s most senior officers and has extensive experience on combating money laundering, as well as investigating high-profile businessmen and politicians.

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