SC man explains why Azam case not referred to AGC

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PETALING JAYA: The Securities Commission (SC) is justifying its refusal to refer the Azam Baki case to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) by claiming that its probe into the affair found there was no reason for it to do so.

An official in the SC office told FMT the inquiry into the top graft buster’s share ownership found that there was no breach of the share trading law. There was, therefore, no need to refer the case to the AGC, he said.

The SC has to seek the AGC’s approval to prosecute a case. “In this case, the SC has done an inquiry and found that Azam did not commit a breach,” the source said.

Azam, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief, has been embroiled in a share trading controversy after allegations arose that he owned millions of shares and warrants in public-listed companies.

He has sought to defend himself by saying the shares “were bought by my brother, who borrowed my name”. He has also said the shares were later transferred back to his brother.

The source in the SC office was expanding on the commission’s statement that it had completed its inquiry and could not “conclusively establish” that a breach had occurred under the Securities Industry (Central Depositories) Act (Sicda).

Critics said the statement, issued last Tuesday, seemed to provide more questions than answers. In a clarification on Wednesday, the SC said it had arrived at its decision after independent evidence found that Azam was the named account holder and had control of the trading account.

Wednesday’s statement also said Azam was the operator of the account since he had “given instructions to buy, sell and transfer securities” from it.

This led to questions as to whether Attorney-General Idrus Harun had studied the SC’s findings.

It is understood that the SC’s investigation was based solely on reference to Section 25(4) of Sicda, which states that a trading account must be opened in the name of the beneficial owner or authorised nominee.

In its Jan 6 press statement to announce it would look into the allegations against Azam, the SC noted that Section 29A stipulates that all dealings in securities shall be effected only by the beneficial owner of the securities or an authorised nominee.

Noting that documentation to show trading would be derived from brokers, the source dismissed talk of Azam’s brother being a nominee as claimed by certain parties.

The source also pointed out that authorised nominees were financial institutions and “not individuals”, according to Bursa Malaysia rules.

“So the brother cannot be an authorised nominee,” he said. “Azam was the one who gave instructions to his remisier to buy, to sell, to transfer. So no one else was operating that account except for him.”

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