PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad insisted that Muhammad Shafee Abdullah lead the prosecution team in Anwar Ibrahim’s 2015 appeal against his sodomy conviction.
Shafee, in a statement today, said Mahathir insisted that he be appointed as the special prosecutor in the Anwar appeal as he did not have the confidence that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) would be able to competently manage the appeals.
“This is probably due to the fact that the AGC had lost the Sodomy II case in the High Court. Further, they had lost earlier in the Federal Court the Sodomy I case.”
He said then prime minister Najib Razak was reluctant about him being appointed special prosecutor as he did not want to offend then attorney-general Gani Patail.
Shafee said he was summoned to meet Mahathir in June or July 2013.
“I learned subsequently that Tun Dr Mahathir had managed to persuade Dato Seri Najib to convince the AG to appoint me by way of FIAT as a special prosecutor in these appeals.
“I was told of this after Najib had left the Perdana Foundation, by Tun Dr Mahathir himself. I learnt from Matthias Chang (Mahathir’s aide) that my appointment as the special prosecutor was the first of the six demands Tun Dr Mahathir made to Dato Seri Najib at that meeting for otherwise he would go against Dato Seri Najib.
“Within a matter of days or so, I was communicated by the office of Tun Dr Mahathir and the Prime Minister’s Office that I should meet Tan Sri Gani Patail for the purposes of the appointment as everything had been agreed to for my appointment.”
Shafee issued the statement after an officer in the AGC released a damning affidavit alleging two cheques worth RM9.5 million were issued by Najib to Shafee to lead the prosecution team in Anwar Ibrahim’s 2015 appeal against his sodomy conviction.
Last year, Anwar filed a suit to quash his sodomy conviction, saying he had not received a fair trial, and citing a payment amounting to RM9.5 million allegedly from Najib.
The High Court in November last year struck out the suit, saying Anwar had not given any evidence to support his allegations.
Shafee had previously dismissed the allegations about him receiving RM9.5 million from Najib to prosecute Anwar’s case as “nonsense”.
Anwar said Shafee should never have been allowed to lead the prosecution team against him.
“Appointing an outside prosecutor is not an ordinary practice by the Attorney-General, and is even more irregular in this case when the individual appointed is a known close confidante of Najib, who is himself materially involved in the case.”
Shafee, in his statement today, said he wanted to charge RM1 as a nominal fee for being special prosecutor but was offered RM1,000 instead. He said even this amount had not been collected by him as payment until today.
RM9.5 million payment
Answering queries on the RM9.5 million payment from Najib, he said it was in lieu of his past services to Umno and other BN parties.
He said the topic of payment had cropped up during his meeting with Najib and he told the PM that he had been promised payment but nothing had come out of it.
He said he told Najib his total fees to date for handling election petitions and giving advice in other cases amounted to RM21 million but he later agreed to accept payment of RM9.5 million.
“I had at that time absolutely no knowledge of the source of the payments to me by Dato Seri Najib,” he said.
“I am a regular advocate and solicitor who works for fees. Why am I being scrutinised when I collect fees for my Umno/BN work?
“If you allow lawyers to be harassed like this under purported money laundering investigations, etc, the future of the legal profession is impeded.”
Shafee said he had been quizzed twice about the RM9.5 million payment by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission officers.
He said he was thinking of taking steps against the release of personal information about him by a DPP in the AGC.
“I am reserving my rights to take the necessary steps against this unprecedented breach of confidentiality by a serving DPP.”