By Lalitha Kunaratnam

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Of late, there has been a steady stream of negative headlines involving the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), leaving many wondering how long the embattled Chief Commissioner will hold on to his job.

A blog, “Edisi Siasat”, has been making outrageous claims that the powers entrusted to law enforcement officers have been manipulated for private gain. One of the top officers implicated in the widening scandal is the Chief Commissioner himself – Azam Baki, claiming that he is linked to several companies.

Azam began his career at the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) in 1984 as an Assistant Investigation Officer. From then on, he quickly rose to the top echelons of power: Director of Intelligence in 2013; Director of Investigation in 2015; Deputy Chief Commissioner (Operations) in 2016; and Chief Commissioner in 2020.

As he was rising to the top, Azam’s brothers became increasingly involved in numerous businesses. The complex details of business ownership and control reveal an interesting development – the nexus between business and law enforcement.

Azam Baki

Azam was a shareholder in Gets Global Berhad (formally known as KBES Berhad). He held 1,930,000 shares as at 30 April 2015 and 1,029,500 shares as at 31 March 2016. In addition, he was a warrant holder in Excel Force MSC Berhad. He held 2,156,000 warrants back in March 2016.

All these investments were only made for a very short period of time. It is uncertain if Azam has declared his shares and warrants acquired during his position as a Director of Investigation.

According to Section 10 of the Public Officers Regulation (Conduct and Discipline) 1993, all public servants must declare both movable properties, such as money in bank accounts, motor vehicles, jewelleries, firearms, shares, warrants, stocks, bonds and securities, as well as immovable properties, such as land, landed properties, and of course, business ownership or directorship.

In addition, there are related rules in Service Circular Number 3/2002 – Ownership and Declaration of Assets by Public Officials, which prevents a public servant from owning more than RM100,000 worth of shares in any company.

If Azam had failed to declare his shares and warrants in these publicly listed companies, this would be a serious offence and he could be subjected to disciplinary action.

Nasir Baki

Nasir Baki, Azam’s brother, is also a former shareholder in Gets Global Berhad. He held 3,728,000 shares as at 31 March 2016.
Based on publicly available reports from the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) and Credit Tip-Off Service (CTOS), Nasir is currently a director of nine companies: Integriti Padu Sdn Bhd which specialises in trading IT products and services; Ipadu Holdings Sdn Bhd which specialises in reselling of computer hardwares and softwares; AAKH Development Sdn Bhd which is a property developer; Ipadu Mining Sdn Bhd which specialises in mining; Header Management Solutions Sdn Bhd which is involved in wholesale; Panji Positif (M) Sdn Bhd which is involved in general trading; Koolit Dot MY Sdn Bhd which is involved in the export and import of biotech pharmaceuticals; and Idealyst SA Sdn Bhd which is involved in beauty treatments.

Apart from being a shareholder (in addition to being director) for most of the above companies, Nasir is also a shareholder for RI Intelligence Sdn Bhd which is a private investigation and detective company. Another notable shareholder for this company is Mohamad Hazmi Abu Kassim, the son of former MACC Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim.

Tan Sri Abu Kassim

Abu Kassim was appointed as an Investigation Officer at the ACA in 1984, the same year as Azam. There, he held various positions until his appointment as Deputy Director General in charge of operations at ACA Malaysia, and subsequently as Chief Commissioner of the MACC in January 2010. He held the position of Chief Commissioner for more than six years until July 2016.

His last posting during retirement was as the Director General of the National Center for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption (GIACC).

Abu Kassim is presently a director of four companies: the 1Malaysia Development Bhd, Prasarana Malaysia Bhd, Alam Flora Sdn Bhd and Yayasan Rangkaian Sahabat.

Mohamad Hazmi Abu Kassim

Hazmi is currently a director for ten companies: Manja Abadi Sdn Bhd which is involved in property investment; J&H Consultancy Sdn Bhd which specialises in financial consultancy services; Passive Massive Sdn Bhd which is involved in franchising retails stores; Uji Niaga Sdn Bhd which is a driving academy; Cube Network Sdn Bhd which is involved in consultancy; SMGB Minerals Sdn bhd which specialises in mining of ores; Corvo Network Sdn Bhd which specialises in telecommunications activities, Prolific Group Sdn Bhd which is involved in investment holding; Alpha Orange Sdn Bhd which specialises in civil engineering works for telecommunication towers; and RI Intelligence Sdn Bhd which is a private investigation and detective company.

Hazmi is also a former director for four companies: Premium Hill Marketing Sdn Bhd which is involved in general trading; Uji Niaga Agro Sdn Bhd which is involved in agriculture; Akademi Propandu Sdn Bhd which is a driving academy and Kehongbao Sdn Bhd which is involved in retail of food and beverages.

Apart from being a director and shareholder for most of the above companies, Hazmi is also a business owner for Osiris Consultancy which specialises in management services.
Hazmi’s high involvement in such a variety of businesses from the tender age of 22 is intriguing. Together, Azam’s brothers and Abu Kassim’s son, hold a conglomerate, as shown below:-
RI Intelligence Sdn Bhd

RI Intelligence Sdn Bhd is a private limited company incorporated in November 2006. Currently, the shareholders include Hazmi and Nasir. Hazmi was also appointed as a director in September 2016, ie. two months after Abu Kassim left MACC.

Although the company’s website was recently discontinued after the negative headlines about the MACC, it conducts background checks on job applicants, employees, and companies on behalf of its clients. It even claims to offer a more extensive background check on certain individuals slated for high-profile or high-risk positions.

Generally, these types of companies have three broad functions: collection, analysis as well as covert action. Collection and analysis are straightforward and through various means. Information on local and foreign persons, public officials, politicians, places, events, and activities are collected and analysed. This may include information not easily obtained through publicly available sources or diplomatic contacts. The manner of RI Intelligence’s data collection and analysis is unknown.

Covert actions are used to influence political, military, or economic conditions or situations abroad, where it is intended that the role of the government will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly. These might consist of propaganda activities, support to political or military factions within a particular country, or actions undertaken to disrupt or support illicit activities such as firearms smuggling and narcotics trafficking. Due to lack of publicly available information on RI Intelligence, the true nature of its activities is unknown.

To be continued in Part 2

*Lalitha Kunaratnam is an investigative journalist and a consultant researcher for an anti-corruption agency. She is writing in her own capacity, and the views expressed are not necessarily those of INS*
*This article was originally published on Oct. 26 with INS coming under a massive DDOS attack shortly after bringing down the site for several weeks.*