KUALA LUMPUR, Feb. 11 – Activist Lalitha Kunaratnam’s lawyer has called a recent police report filed against his client by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) “bordering on the absurd”.
In the latest twist in the saga of MACC chief Tan Sri Azam Baki’s proxy stock trading admission, Lalitha’s lawyer Manjeet Singh Dhillon says the filed report could be found guilty of contempt of court, as the case is still part of an ongoing action in civil court. between his client and Azam.
“MACC must appreciate and understand what is now in the public domain in the pending Azam Baki-Lalitha case, these are oral arguments and they have not even been closed according to the rules of the Court.
“If the report is from MACC, then the creator of the anonymous report has attempted to usurp the role of the scheduled judge in the scheduled trial and the scheduled evidence. This is a pure act of arrogance on the part of MACC,” a he said in a statement today.
For context, a police report was filed yesterday against Lalitha, who wrote about Azam’s alleged acquisition of shares in two publicly traded companies, for allegedly lying in court.
It was reported that an anonymous source said Free Malaysia today that the complaint – lodged at the Sentul district police station – concerned his alleged fictitious employment status with an anti-corruption NGO, the Center for Combating Corruption and Cronyism (C4).
She reportedly made the claim in her statement of defense on February 3, in response to a defamation lawsuit filed by Azam.
Manjeet then demanded that MACC stop harassing his client and let the legal proceedings take their course.
“MACC and its leaders must proceed with caution and stay out of this matter, lest they fall under contempt laws.
“MACC has no right to comment on or usurp the powers of a trial judge or prematurely or preemptively ventilate probable trial evidence.
“In the meantime, the ACP Beh Eng Lai, the Sentul KPD, should return the latest MACC report to its rightful place – the nearest trash can,” he said.
Last month, Azam filed a lawsuit against Lalitha for her article titled “Business Ties Among MACC Leadership: How Deep Does It Go?”
He demands a public apology and RM10 million from the activist, for alleged defamation over his reporting.
The Securities Commission (SC) Malaysia concluded that Azam had full control of his trading account despite telling the public that it was being used by his brother, Nasir Baki, a few days before, and cleared him of any wrongdoing.
On January 19, the regulator said it had decided that a law – which only allows the use of stock trading accounts by the person who benefits from them or which prohibits proxy trading – had not been violated, because independent evidence from an investigation showed that Azam had control and management of his trading account by giving instructions to buy, sell and trade stocks from the account.
The SC had launched the investigation after Azam previously said publicly at a press conference that his stock trading account was being used by his brother to buy shares – a move widely seen as proxy trading by the public.