How Anti-Corruption chief Azam Baki’s half-baked story backfires and implicates him even more...
MACC’s (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) Chief – Azam Baki – should have learned from former Prime Minister Najib Razak that a lie would need 10 more lies to cover-up. Mr “Pink Lips Najib” was a great liar, probably the best liar the country has ever produced. Still, the compulsive liar failed in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal because his lies were too hilarious and ridiculous.
If a seasoned liar like Najib failed, what make Azam thinks he could succeed? When the MACC Chief Commissioner points finger at his brother for using his share trading account to buy millions of shares, it was like Najib pointing finger at the Saudi royal family for donating RM2.6 billion to his personal bank accounts. Mr Azam’s half-baked story has raised more questions than answers.
The corruption scandal involving the anti-corruption top gun exploded after Professor Edmund Terence Gomez resigned from the MACC’s Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel last week in protest of inaction against the accusation that the MACC chief owned stock market shares beyond his mean in 2015. Initially, Azam kept quiet, hoping that the issue would disappear.
However, when you have a professor as distinguished as Gomez refusing to let go of what he described as “nexus between business and law enforcement” and a “conflict of interest” in his resignation letter on Dec 27, 2021, the anti-graft agency should realize that its boss would not be able to escape easily. Mr Gomez was particularly furious as his complaints had fallen on deaf ears.
Determined to expose the internal cover-up of the agency, Gomez revealed how he had written thrice to MACC’s Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel chairman Borhan Dollah, as well as to the MACC Anti-Corruption Advisory Board chairman Abu Zahar Nika Ujang. Both Borhan and Abu Zahar (pix,below) did not bother to act on the allegations against Azam.
Worse, Abu Zahar lied when he claimed that Gomez did not send any email to him. Borhan, on the other hand, also lied when he said emails from Gomez were not related to any wrongdoings committed by MACC chief Azam Baki. Both despicable liars were caught with their pants down when Gomez happily shared the emails with the press.
That was the first mistake. You do not lie with a man like Gomez because the professor of political economy was obviously well prepared when he decided to confront the MACC, which was already tainted with corruption and abuse of power over the years. Unable to shield Mr Azam, the anti-corruption chief was forced to respond, only to make another blunder.
When Azam finally broke his silence, he raised more than a few eyebrows with an unbelievable story that it was his brother – Nasir Baki – who had used his name to purchase shares back in 2015. He also claimed that on the same year, the shares were transferred back to his brother’s own stock market account, including CDS (Central Depository System) account.
In what appeared to be a pre-planned and coordinated drama, MACC Anti-Corruption Advisory Board Chairman Abu Zahar told a press conference that Azam had been cleared of any wrong-doing as the board was satisfied with Azam’s explanation. At the same time, the anti-graft chief arrogantly, but falsely, claimed that he was answerable only to the advisory board.
It was so obvious that something was fishy when both Azam Baki and Abu Zahar played the roles as defender, prosecutor and judge within the four walls of MACC. So, the second mistake was expecting the general public to believe that Azam’s brother did not have any trading account when he purchased a whopping 1,930,000 shares of Gets Global Berhad (formally known as KBES Berhad) in 2015.
According to whistleblower Lalitha Kunaratnam (pix,below), Nasir Baki is a director of nine companies involving in various businesses such as IT products and services, property developer, mining, wholesale, beauty treatments and biotech pharmaceuticals. Interestingly, Nasir is also a shareholder for RI Intelligence Sdn Bhd – a private investigation and detective company.
Does it make sense that a man with such business empire did not have a stock market account to buy shares? Only an individual who has not reached the age of 18 years cannot open a CDS account. Considering that Azam’s age of 58 years today, his brother has to be 24 years old, meaning they were born 34 years apart in order to justify that Nasir was under-age in 2015.
The third mistake was the MACC chief’s lies when he claimed that the 1.93 million shares of Gets Global Berhad had been transferred to his brother’s own stock market account in 2015. In truth, a year later, he still held 1,029,500 shares of the same company as at 31 March 2016. In addition, he also owned 2,156,000 warrants in Excel Force MSC Berhad.
Nasir, meanwhile, held 3,728,000 Gets Global Berhad shares as at 31 March 2016 – meaning the graft busters’ chief only transferred 900,000 shares, while at the same time, his brother purchased more shares. It also means the MACC advisory board was either incompetent or guilty of covering up Azam without even conducting a simple checking.
The fourth mistake – displaying his brother on public gallery has eventually led to more trouble as Mr Azam may have committed offences related to Section 25 of the Securities Industry (Central Depositories) Act 1991 (SICDA). The Securities Commission says every securities account opened with a central depository must be in the name of the beneficial owner or an authorised nominee.
MACC Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission - Chief Commissioner Azam Baki - Corruption
In essence, the MACC Chief Commissioner was as guilty as hell when he “loaned” his account to his brother. Of course, he could play dumb, claiming he didn’t know the law. However, it’s highly unlikely that he was ignorant based on his job nature as the head of graft busters, not to mention his 37-year career in MACC. Worse, the whole scandal could be linked to money laundering.
- Shares and Warrant Holdings
Imagine a drug dealer uses this method to “wash dirty money”. If Azam Baki can claim innocence for lending his share trading account to his brother, do can criminals’ brother. It didn’t help that he foolishly argued that he was answerable only to the MACC’s advisory board. If that’s true, then there’s a double standard as the MACC chief cannot be charged by public prosecutors, let alone investigated by the police.
Like former PM Najib Razak, not only Azam is a public officer whose wages are being paid by taxpayers, he is answerable to the public and Parliament. In fact, the MACC chief is not untouchable as he thought, his fifth mistake, but can be sacked by the Agong (King), who appointed him based on the advice from the Prime Minister. Thus, PM Ismail Sabri should intervene instead of keeping his mouth shut.
Azam’s sixth mistake was trying to bully and intimidate whistleblower Lalitha Kunaratnam with the demands of apology, removal of articles and RM10 million. It was like how Najib was trying to harass and sue Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown and the Wall Street Journal. Any attempt to suppress freedom of media and expression will only backfire.
More importantly, where did the anti-corruption chief get the money to buy shares and warrants, not to mention the burning question – did he declare his assets as a member of the civil service as required under Section 10 of the Public Officers Regulations (Conduct and Discipline) 1993? How did he explain millions of public-listed companies’ shares in his account in 2015 and 2016?
Previously, the nation was shocked when MACC officers replaced a large portion of RM25 million with counterfeit currency. The three suspects were part of a “special team” assigned to investigate the abuse of power and criminal breach of trust involving Najib’ spy chief – Hasanah Abdul Hamid. What was even more stunning was that the MACC crooks had a close relationship with the MACC Chief Commissioner – Azam Baki. - FT