RM9.5m paid by Najib used to purchase Shafee's Bukit Tunku bungalow, say witnesses

Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge

Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 20): Two Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers who recorded statements from Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told the High Court here that the senior lawyer told them that the money obtained from former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 2013 was used to pay for a three-storey bungalow in Bukit Tunku in 2014.

Mohd Nasharudin Amir, 49, and Zulfaqar Mohd Khalil, 30, who are the fourth and fifth prosecution witnesses respectively in Shafee's RM9.5 million money laundering and income tax evasion case, said the senior lawyer also told them when they recorded his statement that the money was not payment for his services rendered in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim sodomy II appeal at the Court of Appeal.

They both said Shafee told them it was for services rendered for acting for Barisan Nasional (BN) in several election petition cases between 2004 and 2006.

According to Zulfaqar, Shafee, who was interrogated on Sept 11, 2018 at the MACC headquarters, showed him a list of BN election petition files between 2004 and 2006, where he explained that 46 files regarding election petitions were opened during that time.

“He told me that he met Najib on Sept 5, 2013, and told the then PM and BN chairman that the cost for the legal fees for those cases was RM12 million. Shafee suggested to Najib that if payment were to be made, the actual cost was RM11.5 million.

“In his meeting with Najib, Shafee also informed the then prime minister that he needed RM9.5 million to purchase the Bukit Tunku home. Shafee told me that Najib had asked him (Shafee) to take the RM9.5 million first via two cheques of RM4.3 million and RM5.2 million. The RM9.5 million, Shafee said, was as a loan until Najib comes up with a rationalisation [for the payment],” Zulfaqar told the court.

Following that, a letter dated Sept 12, 2013 titled 'Settlement of Outstanding Professional Fee Owed by Barisan Nasional (BN) for counsel and solicitor work in the Election Petition cases' was given to Najib to document the understanding between Shafee and Najib over the RM9.5 million payment.

Zulfaqar also told the court that he was referred to a sale and purchase agreement dated Feb 21, 2014, by Shafee with Jasbir Singh Sadu Singh and Devindar Kaur Dulla Singh where the lawyer said the money he received from Najib was used to pay for the land and three-storey bungalow at a cost of RM9.3 million.

The fifth prosecution witness also told the court that the senior lawyer also showed the fiat (appointment) letter issued by former attorney-general Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail on Shafee's appointment as deputy public prosecutor to handle Anwar's appeal at the Court of Appeal.

The other recording officer's testimony

Shafee had claimed trial on Sept 13, 2018, to two charges of receiving money derived from illegal activities amounting to RM9.5 million through two cheques of RM4.3 million on Sept 5, 2013 and RM5.2 million on Feb 14, 2014, issued by Najib which were allegedly deposited into his CIMB Bank Bhd account.

He is also facing two charges of engaging in transactions resulting from illegal activities, namely submitting incorrect tax returns and in violation of paragraph 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967 for the financial years ended Dec 31, 2013 and Dec 31, 2014.

The proceeds from Najib are said to be from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Meanwhile, Nasharudin told the court that he recorded Shafee's statement on July 28, 2017, at his office in Shafee & Co, where the witness said the senior lawyer had told him the RM9.5 million payment was for the legal advice given to Najib, the party (Umno) and as PM prior to this.

Nasharudin said Shafee had said the payment had nothing to do with him appearing for the prosecution in its appeal in Anwar's sodomy II case.

Nasharudin said unlike what was stated by Zulfaqar, Shafee did not show him any documents regarding his claim on the legal advice nor was he shown any documents about election petition files for 2004 and 2006.

“I have not seen this document on the list of election petition cases before. Shafee did not show me when I recorded his statement on July 28, 2017,” the fourth prosecution witness said.

Both Zulfaqar and Nasharudin told the court that after the statements were recorded from Shafee, the senior lawyer read it and signed on the pages.

The prosecution is led by DPP Afzainizam Abdul Aziz while Harvinderjit Singh and Muhammad Farhan Shafee appeared for the senior lawyer.

In his opening statement to the trial, Afzainizam said Shafee was inconsistent on the reason for the RM9.5 million which he received from Najib, where he had earlier claimed that the money was for his legal fee before claiming that the money was intended to be a loan to purchase the property.

The hearing before Justice Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin continues tomorrow with the cross examination of Zulfaqar.

Read also:
DPP: Shafee was inconsistent on reason for RM9.5m payment from Najib

Surin Murugiah