Gomez accuses Abu Zahar of covering up for Azam Baki

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Azam’s silence is “very telling”.

The inaction of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Advisory Board chairman Abu Zahar Ujang and the Consultation and Corruption Panel chairman Borhan Dolah on allegations concerning the graft agency’s chief commissioner Azam Baki is an act of cover-up, Edmund Terence Gomez said.

Gomez, a former member of the anti-graft agency’s oversight panel, said he was shocked at the attempt to sidestep the serious matter.

“There appears to be a cover-up and there appears to be an attempt by Abu Zahar and Borhan not to deal with this matter in spite of the severity of the issue at hand,” the political economist and Universiti Malaya academic told The Malaysian Insight in an exclusive interview.

Gomez said the inaction of the board and panel chairmen, as well as Azam’s silence, raises too many questions.

He said Azam had not even tried to clear his name.

“The question we must ask Abu Zahar is, why he has not called on Azam to first explain himself and secondly to make a public statement to defend himself?

“The integrity of the chief commissioner has been brought into question, not just by me but even before me as the matter was raised in parliament on a couple of occasions and this has been discussed in the public domain.

“Why is it that Azam, after this matter has been discussed in public, has not given an explanation. Why is it that the chief commissioner has not called for a press conference to explain or give his side of the story?

“The silence of the chief commissioner itself is very telling. Surely, the chairman of the advisory board should be aware of this too.

“All indications are that there seems to be a cover-up. I’m afraid that is the case here. To my mind, that is the only conclusion that I can draw.”

Last Monday, Gomez resigned as a member of the Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel in protest at Abu Zahar and Borhan’s failure to act on allegations that Azam owned a large number of shares in a company in 2015 and 2016, and might not have declared them.

Gomez said structural weaknesses were part of the problem.

“If the chairman of the advisory board cannot act independently, without fear or favour, what does this say?

“If the chairman of the corruption prevention panel cannot act without fear or favour and quickly, what does this say about the current structure?

“These are the larger issues we also need to look into… serious problems here we have to address,” he said.

Azam is reported to have owned two million shares in Gets Global Bhd on April 30, 2015, and a further one million shares on March 31, 2016.

He is also alleged to own two million warrants in Excel Force MSC Bhd while his younger brother owned 3.7 million shares in Gets Global.

Gomez questioned the source of Azam’s funds for the shares.

Advisory meeting that did not take place

Following Gomez’s revelations about Azam, he became engaged in a spat with Abu Zahar and Borhan over emails addressing the MACC chief’s alleged wrongdoing.

Gomez said he had emailed his allegations about Azam to Abu Zahar and Borhan.

But Abu Zahar denied receiving such an email from Gomez while Borhan said Gomez did not mention his claims in his emails.

Gomez subsequently released to the press his correspondences with Borhan and Abu Zahar, which showed he had sent them emails urging for a meeting to discuss his claims about Azam in November.

Gomez said an advisory board meeting should have taken place in November to discuss the matter.

“There was supposed to be an advisory board meeting in November after I sent these emails to Abu Zahar.

“! also offered to go to the board meeting to explain the matters brought to my attention, which were in the attachments.

“The board meeting was supposed to be scheduled sometime in early November and it was cancelled at the last minute.

“By right, an advisory meeting should have been held before the end of the year to review the events of the past year.

“Why is it that even after this was exposed in the Parliament, even before my letter of resignation, this has been discussed in the public domain, he (Abu Zahar) as the chairman of the advisory board, knowing all this did not call for an advisory board meeting to look into this matter?

“Why is he now saying all these things, like not receiving emails and attachments? That is not the point here. The point here is that this was already in the public domain. Even without my letter, he should have acted but he did not. That is the point.

“Why is he focusing on me when there is a dereliction of duty on his part?” Gomez said. – TMI


Earlier reports:

Dec 30, Prove Azam BAki’s alleged wrongs, MACC advisory board chief tells Gomez

Dec 29, Gomez: MACC panel head ‘disingenuous’ about my emails on Azam Baki

Dec 28, Panel chief: Gomez’s emails did not mention Azam’s alleged wrongdoings

Dec 28, Prof Edmund Terence Gomez quits MACC panel over Azam Baki allegations