Through a press release on Jan 12, Azam’s lawyer Megat Abdul Munir, announced the filing of the defamation action. The MACC chief is suing Lalitha in his personal capacity…
Lalitha has since said she stood 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.
The share ownership in 2015 and 2016 raised questions on whether it is 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 brother. The shares have since been transferred to his brother.
Nearly a week later, on Jan 18, the Securities Commission (SC) announced that it had concludedits inquiry into the case and that it is 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 Azam had “control” over his own trading account and found no evidence of proxy trading.
It is a very common reaction for powerful males to move to sue to shut up criticism that has resonated with the public. It provides a short term answer to the problem, allowing them to say “It wasn’t true and I have sued”.
After that, they hope, the noise will die down and their big bucks will force a settlement after which they can tell their questioners “I sorted that person out in court. It was all lies”.
Except, the risk in this tactic is the act of putting a nose around one’s neck that can pull very tight indeed…. especially if they are indeed guilty of the matter they have been criticised for and if the person they are suing happens to be a determined lady.
In this case Azam seemed to have gained satisfaction from his enforcement colleagues at the SEC who backed out of prosecuting him for breaking rules (the police having rightly refused to take criminal action against Lalitha over a minor flaw in her CV – which Azam had outrageously attempted to get them to do).
However, now they have been pressed as to why they let the MACC chief off the hook on what appears to have been a blatant breach of stockmarket rules – i.e. allowing his brother to use his account – the SEC have turned out to be less than helpful after all.
The reason they let him off the hook, it is now explained, is because he WASN’T allowing his brother to use his account as he was using it himself! With that Azam’s entire defence has gone pouf in terms of his rebuttals against Lalitha whom he is suing for writing about those share deals.
The court case is ongoing and the noose just tightened. Looks like Lalitha is going nowhere and the noise is as loud as ever!