An MACC officer testified today that Muhammad Shafee Abdullah agreed to be paid only RM1,000 to act as the deputy public prosecutor in PKR president Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy II appeal.
Zulfaqar Mohd Khalil said the lawyer informed him about this when the latter’s statement was being recorded at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya, on Sept 11, 2018.
The fifth prosecution witness was testifying during today’s money laundering trial against Shafee (above) in relation to RM9.5 million that the lawyer received from former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.
Zulfaqar, who is now based at MACC’s Strategic Communication Division, was testifying on what Shafee said while the antigraft watchdog officer was recording the lawyer’s statement during that time.
On March 11, 2015, at the Dewan Rakyat, then minister in the prime minister’s department Nancy Shukri said Shafee only received an RM1,000 fee as the lead prosecutor in Anwar’s appeal against the sodomy case involving the opposition leader's former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
Anwar previously contended that Shafee was paid RM9.5 million as a fee for acting as a member of the prosecution opposing the Port Dickson MP’s appeal.
In 2018, Shafee however claimed that the RM9.5 million was for legal fees rendered for work done for Umno and BN.
During the money laundering trial before High Court judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin today, Zulfaqar was replying to questions from Shafee’s counsel Harvinder Singh in a cross-examination.
The witness agreed with Harvinder that Shafee’s statement regarding the RM1,000 legal fee countered claims by certain quarters that the accused was paid RM9.5 million to act as prosecutor in Anwar’s appeal.
Harvinder: There was an explanation by Shafee on his appointment as DPP in Anwar sodomy II appeal, and the witness (Shafee) explained that the legal fee agreed to between Shafee and the government was only RM1,000?
There were certain quarters who made claims that the RM9.5 million from Najib has to do with the appointment of Shafee as DPP in the appeal?
Harvinder: These were efforts by Shafee to dispel allegations by certain quarters that tried to link the RM9.5 million to Shafee’s appointment as DPP?
The witness agreed with Harvinder that Shafee, during the statement-recording at the MACC headquarters, had brought along a press statement, a letter from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), and the letter of appointment, to dispel the allegations.
IRB update email sent to Shafee
Later on in the trial, former Bar Council treasurer N Ravindran testified that Shafee had been emailed circulars regarding Inland Revenue Board (IRB) update for lawyers to declare based on an accrual basis and no longer on a cash basis.
The sixth prosecution witness said that the circulars, dated Feb 15 and Sept 3 2018, were emailed to Shafee’s email address registered with the Bar Council.
Accrual accounting is where revenues and expenses are recorded when they are earned, regardless of when the money is actually received or paid.
Meanwhile, the cash basis of accounting recognises revenues when cash is received, and expenses when they are paid.
The trial before Jamil will proceed on Oct 14.
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.
Najib is facing numerous separate criminal trials, among them the RM2.28 billion 1MDB corruption case. His counsel is Shafee.