The so-called investigation by the Securities Commission incredibly concluded that there was “no conclusive evidence” of proxy trading by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Azam Baki despite Azam having earlier 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 5 January 2022. Notwithstanding that, the Securities Commission has amazingly cleared him of any wrongdoing!
The Securities Commission’s strange conclusion contrasted and contradicted Azam’s ‘confession’. We are told that he had earlier privately given this same version of his story involving his brother to the anti-corruption advisory board on 24 November 2021 – which was confirmed by its chairman, Abu Zahar Ujang at the same press conference where Azam later spoke on 5 January.
Did the Securities Commission 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 the Securities Commission 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 anti-corruption advisory board, whose chairman had apparently swallowed Azam’s explanation hook, line and sinker: he clarified Azam had appeared before the board and they were convinced he had committed no wrong and therefore the board had cleared him of any wrongdoing.
Apparently, this seemed to be the unilateral view of Abu Zahar because, almost a week later, four other board members disputed the chairman’s version of the board’s decision and contended it was his personal view and did not reflect theirs. Strangely, the other board member, Dr Edmund Terence Gomez, was not invited to this meeting.
It is a fact that Azam lied twice. He stuck to his version consistently and persistently on both occasions – when he met the anti-corruption advisory board and when he gave his press conference. The Securities Commission’s conclusion clearing him became a laughable matter but, nonetheless, proved 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 would think he did not have that kind of money to invest in millions in shares? Otherwise, Malaysians would wonder 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 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 (ketua setiausaha negara) 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 Public Service Circular No. 3 of 2002 and the chief secretary, as the nation’s highest civil servant, cannot close one eye and let him get away with it.
He is guilty under 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 has reportedly made a police report, claiming that some officials in the Securities Commission are corrupt. Could it be a 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 Securities Commission or the 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 would be seen as tainted agencies challenging public confidence.
We need a royal commission of inquiry urgently to get to the bottom of this. 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 that Sir Walter Scott first popularised in his epic poem, Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field: “Oh what a tangled web we weave / When first we practise to deceive.”