PETALING JAYA: Did the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board meet on Nov 24 to discuss allegations about the business interests of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Tan Sri Azam Baki?
That is the question posed by Dr Edmund Terence Gomez to the board members, urging them to confirm if such a meeting had been held.
Gomez, who resigned from the MACC’s Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel last month, said he raised this question for this reason: “If a meeting was held on Nov 24, why was I not informed of this when I discussed this matter with some board members in December?
“Why was I not told that Azam had been exonerated by the board members at this meeting?” he said in a statement on Saturday (Jan 8).
The meeting was claimed to have taken place by board chairman Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang, whereby Azam was summoned to explain the allegations.
Abu Zahar had said the board was satisfied with the explanation given during that meeting and found that there was no criminal conduct or conflict of interest on Azam’s part.
Gomez said if there was such a meeting on Nov 24, then another question must be answered.
“The board members have confirmed that they do not have the authority to exonerate Azam of the allegations made against him.
“If they state this now, why then did they exonerate Azam at the Nov 24 meeting?” he added.
It was reported that Gomez had resigned in protest over the panel’s inaction with regards to allegations regarding a top MACC official.
In a press conference on Wednesday (Jan 5), Abu Zahar told reporters that there was no conflict of interest on Azam’s part as MACC chief over the issue of acquiring shares in two companies in 2015.
He said this was because the MACC chief commissioner did not purchase the shares himself, as this was done by Nasir Baki, his younger brother.
However, six board members distanced themselves from Abu Zahar’s statement earlier on Saturday (Jan 8).
They said the comments were Abu Zahar’s personal view and a separate discussion was held on the matter where several proposals were given.
Among the proposals were for the issue to be brought to an independent committee, Parliamentary Special Committee on Corruption or the MACC’s complaints panel.
Gomez said it is not sufficient for the board members to distance themselves from Abu Zahar’s statements at his press conference.
“The board members must also explain why they did not insist on an independent investigation into these allegations against Azam when this was first brought to their attention,” he said.