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10 APRIL 2024

Monday, January 31, 2022

Cops fix Thursday to question Azam Baki whistleblower


Whistleblower Lalitha Kunaratnam has been called in to Bukit Aman this Thursday over two stories she wrote that blew open a shareholding scandal that implicated MACC chief Azam Baki.

“I have been summoned to Bukit Aman this Thursday at 2.30pm for questioning over my two articles, titled ‘Business ties among MACC leadership: How deep does it go?’” Lalitha posted today on social media, before confirming it with Malaysiakini.

Asked whether she had been expecting it, she answered in the affirmative.

“In a way, yes. MACC lodged a report on me on Jan 7, after I received a letter of demand on Jan 6.”

Malaysiakini has reached out to Bukit Aman for more details.

Earlier this month, Lalitha officially responded in court against Azam’s defamation suit linked to the issue of share ownership in two public-listed companies.

The activist’s lawyers filed a memorandum of appearance at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Friday last week (Jan 21).

According to a copy of the court document sighted by Malaysiakini, counsel from law firm Ibrahim & Fuaadah filed the appearance on Lalitha’s (above) behalf, with the filing addressed to the court’s senior assistant registrar.

Under the law of civil action in Malaysia, the filing of the memorandum of appearance means the defendant intends to respond to the lawsuit, such as by later filing a statement of defence.

When contacted today, a representative from the law firm confirmed the filing of the memorandum last week.

It was reported that Azam’s civil action against Lalitha is fixed for case management before the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Feb 15.

Back on Jan 12 via a press release, Azam’s lawyer Megat Abdul Munir, who is from law firm Zain Megat & Murad, announced the filing of the defamation action.

The MACC chief commissioner is suing Lalitha in his personal capacity.

Azam had previously issued a letter of demand to Lalitha via his lawyers, demanding an apology and RM10 million in damages.

Lalitha has since said she stands by her reports and criticised the MACC’s attempt to rope in the police to investigate her.

Azam came under the spotlight over his ownership of 1,930,000 shares in Gets Global Berhad (previously KBES Berhad) on April 30, 2015 worth around RM772,000 at the time.

His shareholding in Gets Global Berhad went down to 1,029,500 as of March 31, 2016, worth around RM340,000 at the time.

He also held 2,156,000 warrants in Excel Force MSC Berhad in March 2016.

The share ownership in 2015 and 2016 had raised questions on whether it was commensurate with his income as a public servant.

In a special press conference on Jan 5, Azam did not dispute the ownership of the shares but claimed they were bought in his name by his younger brother. They have since been transferred to his brother.

Nearly a week later on Jan 18, the Securities Commission (SC) announced that its probe was unable to conclusively establish that a breach under Section 25(4) of the Securities Industry (Central Depositories) Act 1991 (SICDA) had occurred.

However, following criticism, the SC clarified that it found that Azam had “control” over his own trading account and that it found no evidence of proxy trading.  - Mkini

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