Six MACC advisory board members distance themselves from Abu Zahar’s ‘no conflict of interest’ statement

(The Star) – Six MACC advisory board members have distanced themselves from the statement made by the board’s chairman Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang.

In a statement on Saturday (Jan 8), the six comprising Tan Sri Ismail Omar, Datuk Seri Azman Ujang, Datuk Seri Akhbar Satar, Datuk Dr Hamzah Kassim, Datuk David Chua Kok Te and Prof Datuk Dr Mohammad Agus Yusoff, said that board members were not satisfied with the explanation provided by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Tan Sri Azam Baki, despite Abu Zahar saying otherwise during a recent press conference.

“Abu Zahar said that the Board was satisfied with the explanation given by Azam. He further said there was no crime committed or conflict of interest in the matter.

“We categorically wish to state that the board members at that meeting or at any time thereafter did not express such opinion as Abu Zahar attributed to,” they said.

They added that 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.

“However, our views and proposals were not raised at Abu Zahar’s press conference. The ACAB has no investigation power as it is established as an advisory board.

“We need to provide this clarification in order to safeguard the integrity of the board and the institution,” they said.

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.

Abu Zahar said the ACAB had called for a meeting on Nov 24 last year and had summoned Azam to explain the allegations.

He said after a lengthy discussion, ACAB members were satisfied and were of the opinion that Azam did not have any pecuniary interest in the said shares.