MACC graft advisers issued statement behind Abu Zahar’s back

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MACC Anti-Corruption Advisory Board (ACAB) chairman Abu Zahar Ujang today said six members of the panel had issued a statement about Azam Baki that was contradictory to his own without first discussing the issue in a meeting scheduled for today.

Reading from a prepared statement, Abu Zahar gave a chronology of the events that transpired within the ACAB earlier this month that led to a rift within the board.

He said he had agreed on January 7 to meet with the other board members today, only to find out the next day that they had gone behind his back to issue a statement of their own.

“I am of the opinion that the media statements made by the six members are deeply regrettable,” he said in a press conference in Putrajaya today.

On January 5, Abu Zahar said MACC chief commissioner Azam had on November 24 explained the matter of his share ownership and that the former had been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Following Abu Zahar’s statement on January 8, six members of the board he chairs issued a statement saying they did not share his opinion that Azam was innocent of wrongdoing.

The board members were Ismail Omar, Azman Ujang, Akhbar Satar, Hamzah Kassim, David Chua Kok Tee, and Prof Mohammad Agus Yusoff.

Abu Zahar told reporters today that he had received a message from Azman on January 7, at 6.19pm, saying “the issue is getting hotter and hotter”.

At 6.22pm, Chua responded to Azman’s message saying, “LPPR need to meet and discuss this matter urgently and come up with a clear statement to state LPPR’s position by early next week. Keeping silent is not an option”.

At 6.27pm, Abu Zahar said Ismail texted the group and confirmed the meeting on January 11.

“Yes. We’re meeting on 11th Jan. Need to address relevant issues,” his message read.

Abu Zahar said the time of the meeting was fixed at 10pm.

“Suddenly, on January 8, I found that all six of the ACAB board members had had a meeting among themselves without informing me and had gone on to issue a media statement,” he said.

He believed the six issued the statement in response to the unpopular public response following what he claimed was “inaccurate reporting” by the media.

There have been calls for Abu Zahar to quit his position as ACAB chairperson after the statement by the six stating the board did not clear Azam.

Abu Zahar said he is prepared to be investigated at any time.

At today’s press conference, Abu Zahar merely read out his statement and left the press conference without taking any questions from the media.

Separately, Mohammad Agus told The Star on January 8 that the six distanced themselves from Abu Zahar’s remarks as the share trading issue involving Azam was not at all addressed in the ACAB meetings.

Earlier reports:

Jan 8, Six MACC advisory board members dispute Abu Zahar’s ‘clearing’ of Azam Baki

Jan 8, Abu Zahar must resign

Jan 7, Pakatan: Don’t just probe Azam Baki, but also Abu Zahar, past MACC chiefs

Jan 3, Gomez accuses Abu Zahar of covering up for Azam Baki

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