PETALING JAYA: Najib Razak today questioned the charges brought against Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, saying it came just days after the Umno lawyer’s revelation that he was instructed by Dr Mahathir Mohamad to lead the prosecution of Anwar Ibrahim in the latter’s sodomy trial four years ago.
“The speed of Shafee’s persecution is also questionable as it comes mere days after Shafee had correctly pointed out that is was the current prime minister who had ordered to make Shafee the lead prosecutor in Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trials – a fact that neither Tun Mahathir, his long-time aide who arranged for the meeting or the previous attorney-general has yet to comment or deny,” Najib said in a statement.
Shafee was today charged with four counts under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, over RM9.5 million paid to him by Najib.
The prominent lawyer is Najib’s defence counsel in the latter’s case over charges of money laundering, corruption and breach of trust, related to some RM42 million transferred to his account.
Saying the RM9.5 million he paid Shafee was for years of legal service to Umno, Najib said prosecuting him was not only a form of intimidation to disrupt his defence, but also was a dangerous precedent.
“Charging Shafee for receiving payments for legal services rendered sets a very dangerous legal precedent for all lawyers, professionals and businesses,” the former prime minister said.
“A lawyer works for fees and he or she is entitled to payment for their services.”
Najib said the RM9.5 million paid to Shafee was part of a political donation he received from the Saudi Arabian government and a prince who acted for the late King Abdullah.
Najib also questioned why the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had not interviewed him over his payment to Shafee.
“This means that investigations were clearly not complete before Tan Sri Shafee was charged.”