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Where did Azam Baki get that kind of money? Was he covering up by lying?

By P Ramakrishnan

Ramakrishnan says, “The Malaysian public will never accept the results of investigations conducted by the SC or MACC, tainted as they unfortunately are. Both don’t command our confidence and respect…”

The so-called investigation by the Securities Commission incredibly concluded that there was “no conclusive evidence” of proxy trading by MACC chief Azam Baki in spite of Azam having publicly announced that his brother had used his account to buy millions of shares. He had declared this ‘truth’ to the entire nation through his Press Conference on Jan. 5, 2022. Notwithstanding that, the SC has amazingly cleared him of any wrongdoing!

The SC’s strange conclusion contrasted and contradicted with Azam’s “confession.” We are told that Azam had earlier given this same version of his story privately involving his brother to the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board (ACAB) on Nov. 24, 2021 which was confirmed by its chairman, Abu Zahar Ujang at the same Press conference when Azam later spoke on Jan. 5, 2022.

Did the Securities Commission (SC) haul up Azam before them when they conducted their investigation? We were not told. When was this so-called probe carried out? We were not told. Who attended this probe? We were not told. A lot of things have not been told to the Malaysian public. Aren’t we important enough to know the truth? Don’t we deserve to be told?

We maintain that the SC should have summoned Azam to provide some salient answers. If their internal investigation did not provide conclusive evidence of breach of rules, they should have questioned why he misled the country and Malaysians by blatantly lying. He even hoodwinked the ACAB whose chairman had apparently swallowed line, hook and sinker when he clarified that Azam had appeared before them and that they were convinced that he had committed no wrong and therefore the ACAB had cleared him of any wrong-doing. Apparently, this seemed to be the unilateral view of Abu Zahar because almost a week later four other members of his committee disputed the chairman’s version of the ACAB decision and contended that it was his personal view and it did not reflect theirs. Strangely, the other ACAB member, Terrence Gomez, was not invited to this meeting.

It is a fact that Azam had lied twice. He stuck to his version consistently and persistently on both occasions – when he met the ACAB and when he gave his Press conference. The SC’s conclusion, therefore, clearing him became a laughable matter but, nonetheless, proved that Azam is apparently a liar.

The question is why did Azam lie? Was he trying to cover up his tracks when he lied? He wanted to convey the idea that his younger brother was a millionaire and was in a position to invest heavily in shares. Did he invent this story so that Malaysians will think that he did not have that kind of money to invest in millions in shares?

Otherwise, Malaysians would be wondering how he could own millions of shares on the salary of a civil servant.

But his brother has not come forward to confirm his story. We wonder why! Is he rolling in money?

Apart from the shares – the main topic of discussion thus far –Azam also had 2,156,000 warrants in Excel Force MSC Bhd in March 2016. Nobody has so far quantified the worth of the warrants but they must have cost a bundle. We need to know how he managed to acquire all these warrants. Where did the money come from? Will he claim that his brother paid for them?

The worth of the shares is staggering. The question, therefore, arises how did Azam come by this colossal sum to invest. This should have been the bone of contention for the MACC and the police to investigate. How come both these agencies did not spring into action?

The Chief Secretary to the Government (KSN, or KetuaSetiausaha Negera) should have acted immediately when it came to light that Azam had shares way beyond what a civil servant is permitted to hold. Azam had clearly flouted Service Circular 3 of 2002 and the KSN, as the nation’s highest civil servant, cannot close one eye and let him get away with it.

He is guilty under the General Orders Chapter D. Why did the Cabinet not address this very serious breach of rules?

The foot-dragging seems to suggest that corruption is being traded off. An NGO had reportedly made a police report claiming that some officials in the SC are corrupt. Could it be case of you scratch my back and I scratch yours? Could this be a case of quid pro quo?

The Malaysian public will never accept the results of investigations conducted by the SC or MACC, tainted as they unfortunately are. Both don’t command our confidence and respect. Malaysians would want the entire outfit to be reconstituted with people of impeccable character and integrity. Otherwise, they will be seen as tainted agencies challenging public confidence.

We need a Royal Commission of Inquiry urgently to get to the bottom of the truth. The sooner it is set up, the sooner will public support, respect and confidence be restored.

As we sprint to do this, let us be reminded of the saying Sir Walter Scott first popularized in his epic poem, Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field: ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave / When first we practice to deceive.”

(The views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rebuilding Malaysia.)

23 January 2022

P Ramakrishnan is the long-serving former president of Aliran who served three and a half decades on its executive committee, and has been with Aliran since its inception in 1977. Now an ordinary Aliran member, he continues to highlight issues of public interest to a larger audience.
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