Calls for open probe into embattled Azam Baki grow louder

Topics: MACC IndependencePolitical Corruption & Conflict of InterestGood Governance & Anti-Corruption
Related news: https://www.thevibes.com/articles/news/51488/calls-for-open-investigation-into-embattled-azam-baki-grow-louder
Coverage by: The Vibes

Calls for a transparent investigation into embattled Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Tan Sri Azam Baki grow louder as the public exoneration by its advisory board (LPPR) rings hollow.

Among those urging for Azam to be put on garden leave is Penang Deputy Chief MInister II P. Ramasamy.

“If Azam is clean as he professes to be, he should take a break to allow for more thorough investigations to take place. His post as the chief commissioner is a public one, his salary comes from the taxpayers, not from private companies,” Ramasamy said in a statement.

“Just because MACC’s advisory council cleared him, it (does not) mean anything.”

Former Malaysian Bar president Datuk Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor told The Vibes that the onus is now on the Securities Commission (SC) to conclude whether an offence had occurred. 

Under the law, a government officer can nominate a relative to trade in shares, provided the person had notified the SC on the matter before the deals were transacted.

“Did Azam do that? That is the question here.”

He added that MACC needs to find ways to show greater transparency as it is the only legitimated body entrusted to fight all forms of corruption.

Meanwhile, Lawyers for Justice movement coordinator S. Raveentharan said there is a need for the federal government to protect MACC from the graft culture that has hindered the country’s ability to move forward.

This is why, he said, MACC should report to an impartial body such as Parliament or to appoint a chief who has proven to be incorruptible.

During Wednesday’s press conference, LPPR chairman Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang said the board conducted a meeting with Azam on November 24 to seek explanation on the allegations that have since plagued the anti-graft body.

Abu Zahar had said LPPR was satisfied by the explanation given by Azam and found no criminal elements or conflict of interest involving the latter.

Azam, meanwhile, insisted he as the chief commissioner is only answerable to LPPR.

Azam also claimed the allegations of conflict of interest brought against him were created by certain parties looking to take advantage and attack MACC and ruin the commission’s image and his personal reputation.

Yesterday, SC announced they would be seeking an explanation from all parties involved over the entire saga MACC currently finds themselves in. 

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