Muhammad Shafee Abdullah claimed that the RM9.5 million the lawyer received was not for acting for the prosecution in Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy appeal, testified two MACC officers today.
Fourth and fifth prosecution witnesses Mohd Nasharudin Amir and Zulfaqar Mohd Khalil told the High Court in Kuala Lumpur this during Shafee’s money laundering trial involving RM9.5 million received from former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.
Nasharudin was testifying based on the statement recorded from Shafee at the lawyer’s office at Kuala Lumpur on July 28, 2017, while Zulfaqar’s oral evidence was based on the statement recorded from the lawyer while at MACC headquarters at Putrajaya on Sept 11, 2018.
Previously, it was reported that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), through an affidavit, stated that then prime minister Najib paid the RM9.5 million to Shafee between 2013 and 2014.
Anwar is relying on the affidavit in his ongoing appeal at the Court of Appeal to reinstate a civil action challenging the validity of the opposition leader’s sodomy trial involving his then aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
During the money laundering trial before High Court judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin, Nasharudin testified that Shafee told the MACC officer that the RM9.5 million was for legal services rendered to Najib and BN.
“Based on the answer given by Shafie in the recorded statement, both cheques of RM4.3 million and RM5.2 million given by Najib to Shafee, were payment for legal advice rendered by Shafee to Najib, and the party (BN).
“Shafee also explained that the two cheques received from Najib have nothing to do with the prosecution’s Sodomy II appeal against Anwar.
“Shafee informed me that the money received had been used to buy a house at Bukit Tunku priced at RM9.5 million,” Nasharudin said.
The MACC officer, who is now attached to MACC headquarters’ Investigation Division, testified that Shafee had also claimed then that he did not know the source of the RM9.5 million in Najib’s two cheques to him and did not inquire where it came from.
The witness said that Shafee had explained then that this was because the money had come from Najib in regard to payment for the legal services.
Nasharudin also testified that the statement recorded from Shafee then was in the latter’s capacity as a witness and not a suspect in the then probe into Najib’s RM2.6 billion 1MDB case.
Meanwhile, during the trial, Zulfaqar confirmed that Shafee made the same claim when the statement was being recorded later at the MACC headquarters.
The MACC officer, who is now with the anti-graft watchdog’s Strategic Communications Division, said that Shafee reiterated then that the RM9.5 million was for legal services rendered to BN for election petitions between 2004 and 2006.
The witness said that when he showed Shafee a copy of a letter of appointment as a deputy public prosecutor dated May 22, 2014, the lawyer confirmed that the then attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail appointed Shafee to be DPP in Anwar’s sodomy appeal.
“He (Shafee) also said that the RM9.5 million has no relation to Anwar’s appeal (in the then sodomy case),” Zulfaqar said.
Zulfaqar also told the court that Shafee had explained then that he had used RM9.3 million from the cheques to buy a property and the three-storey bungalow.
The MACC officer said that Shafee gave the explanation when the former showed the latter a sale and purchase agreement dated Feb 21, 2014, between Jasbir Singh and Devindar Kaur with Shafee.
The trial before Jamil will resume tomorrow at 9am.
On Sept 13, 2018, at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court, Shafee claimed trial to four charges linked to the RM9.5 million allegedly received from Najib via two cheques.
The lawyer was charged with two counts of money laundering over the RM9.5 million, which he was accused of receiving in two tranches, the first RM4.3 million on Sept 13, 2013, and the second payment of RM5.2 million on Feb 17, 2014.
Shafee was also charged with two counts of involvement in transactions of proceeds from unlawful activity, by making inaccurate statements in relation to the payments on March 3 and June 29, 2015.
The 69-year-old lawyer was alleged to have deposited the two cheques into his personal account at a CIMB Bank branch in Bukit Tunku, Kuala Lumpur.
For the first two charges, Shafee was charged under Section 4 (1) (b) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act (AMLA) 2001.
The other two charges are framed under Section 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967.
The case was later transferred to the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, whereby the second day of trial was on May 28. The trial began on May 21 this year.
Najib, meanwhile, is currently facing numerous separate criminal trials, among them the RM2.28 billion 1MDB corruption case. His counsel is Shafee.