(Updated)

SC now clarifies Azam Baki controlled his own share trading account

SC now clarifies Azam Baki controlled his own share trading account
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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 19): The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has clarified that evidence gathered in its inquiry into Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki’s share trading account shows that he is the named account holder and had control of the account.

Azam “operated the account that he had opened, in that he had given instructions to buy, sell and transfer securities from the said account”, the SC said in a statement on Wednesday (Jan 19).

“Therefore, the SC arrived at the decision that there was no breach of Section 25(4) of the Securities Industry (Central Depositories) Act 1991 (SICDA),” it added.

Section 25(4) stipulates that a trading account must be opened in the name of the beneficial owner or authorised nominee.

Under the Rules of Bursa Malaysia Depository, an individual cannot act as an authorised nominee, this would mean that Azam was the beneficial owner of the shares in his account.

In an earlier statement on Tuesday, the SC said it had completed its inquiry into Azam’s share purchase claims, but could not “conclusively establish” if the MACC chief’s trading account was not opened in his name as the beneficial owner or an authorised nominee.

Azam, who is mired in a proxy stock trading issue, had explained in a press conference earlier this month that his share trading account had been used by his younger brother Nasir to purchase shares in 2015.

The explanation was made after it was reported that Azam had significant shareholdings in several companies. He denied any wrongdoing and said the stocks purchased had subsequently been transferred to Nasir’s account.

The SC then issued a statement on Jan 6 saying it would look into the issue, noting the stipulation under Section 25(4) of the SICDA, as well as Section 29A which states that all dealings in securities shall be effected only by the beneficial owner of the securities or an authorised nominee.

Money trail

It is not immediately clear if critics of Azam’s share trading case will be satisfied with the latest clarification.

It is likely that they will demand evidence that the funds used to purchase the shares in fact came from Nasir.

A group of PKR members of Parliament (MPs) had previously questioned Anti-Corruption Advisory Board chairman Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang if the board saw the documents that showed the money trail from Nasir to Azam.

This came after Abu Zahar had announced that the board found there was no criminal conduct or conflict of interest by Azam over the share purchase as it was not made by the MACC chief but by Nasir.

But the PKR MPs — Sivarasa Rasiah, Maria Chin Abdullah, Ahmad Fahmi Mohd Fadzil, Sim Tze Tzin, Hassan Karim, Maszlee Malik and Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh —  questioned if it was allowed for Nasir to acquire shares using Azam’s trading account, and demanded evidence of the money trail between the brothers.

Meanwhile, six other MACC advisory board members — Tan Sri Ismail Omar, Datuk Seri Azman Ujang, Datuk Seri Akhbar Satar, Datuk Dr Hamzah Kassim, Datuk David Chua Kok Tee and Prof Datuk Dr Mohammad Agus Yusoff — had distanced themselves from the statement made by Abu Zahar, saying it was merely the chairman’s personal view.

Read also:
SC says it can't establish SICDA breach in MACC chief Azam Baki's stock trading case
SC to look into MACC chief's share purchase claims 
MACC Anti-Corruption Advisory Board members say chairman's statement on Azam Baki his 'personal views’
MACC independent monitoring body says no conflict of interest in share trading involving Azam Baki 

S Kanagaraju