KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 – Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah claims his firm had issued receipts for the RM9.5 million that he had received as legal fees from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak,.
Bernama reported the Umno lawyer as saying he was therefore surprised over the money laundering charges brought against him by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) at the Sessions Court here yesterday.
“I totally did not expect the charges against me, this is because I only received fees for legal services rendered.
“And of course, I would also not ask the prime minister (Najib) from where he obtained the funds,” he was quoted as saying by the national news agency.
Yesterday, Shafee pleaded not guilty to two counts of receiving money from illegal activities totalling RM9.5 million from Najib and two counts of making incorrect filing to the Inland Revenue Board and was allowed bail of RM1 million with two sureties by the Sessions Court here and fixed October 2 for re-mention of the case.
He claimed trial to all four charges and was released on RM1 million bail.
Nothing do to with Anwar Ibrahim Sodomy II
He also reiterated that the RM9.5 million from Najib had nothing to do with him being the lead prosecutor for the government in the appeal against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal over the Sodomy II case by the High Court. The trial at the
Court of Appeal took place in March 2014, after the payments were made between September 2013 and February 2014.
“I did not receive RM9.5 million from Najib to do Anwar’s case and that was as clear as daylight,” he was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.
“The bill that I showed, to justify RM9.5 million is in relation to 46 election petitions that I handled for Barisan Nasional.
“In fact, if I want to charge for all the work that I had done for BN alone, forgetting my advice to the prime ministers (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and Najib) the bill would be about RM20 million.”
RM9.5 million loan from Najib?
He added that the money could also be considered as an advance payment or even a loan as he “needed it urgently to purchase a property to help a friend” in 2013.
“That was a temporary measure until I rationalise the actual billing for my legal services to the party,” he was quoted as saying by the daily.
According to Shafee, the amount he received was to be reflected in his tax returns after the rationalisation was done.
“The money was given to me as an advance or loan, until I rationalised the billing.”
Shafee added that he believed the charges were politically-motivated to throw a spanner into the works of Najib’s own case, for which he is the main defence lawyer.
“This is a bullying tactic to remove me from the defence line-up concerning Najib’s case.
“For me, if you know my character, the more I am pressured, the harder I become. They know that we have the best defence line-up,” he said.
Did not try to run away
Shafee also denied rumours that he had tried to avoid being detained by the MACC.
He said had gone to Johor Bahru for a case under SOSMA and later returned to Kuala Lumpur and met with Najib at the Pavilion on Wednesday.
According to Bernama, Shafee explained that he returned to his office the same day to gather his documents and was detained by the MACC yesterday morning while he was waiting at the Subang Airport to board a flight to Penang to attend another SOSMA-related case.
Unhappy over Gopal Sri Ram being prosecutor
Meanwhile, following the announcement that former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram was to be the lead prosecutor in his court dates, Shafee said he was not happy with the selection.
He cited a conflict of interest when asking for the recusal of Gopal because the latter had represented Anwar in a civil matter last year involving the same RM9.5 million which Shafee is being charged with.
“There is also personal history between us, that is not a very pleasant relationship,” he was quoted as saying by The Star