Malaysia/Indonesia – (ACN Newswire) – The leading Defense lawyer of former Malaysian Prime Minister Dato Sri Najib Razak was arrested earlier today, charged with money laundering.
He was later released on bail and gave a press conference. The former PM himself has also issued a formal statement. Today’s arrest appears to be a clear attempt to intimidate the legal defense team of the former Prime Minister Najib TaAk and to politicize the judiciary. Such actions may well deny Dato Sri Najib Razak a fair trial. His trial is expected to start early next year.
Najib Razak made a statement in this regard:
“1. The AMLA charges against my lead lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah for receiving payments from my party for services rendered is yet another step to deny me a fair trial. It can be seen as an attempt to intimidate or disqualify him and other lawyers from representing me in my case.
2. Prior to this, the judge in my case has been suddenly changed while the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has appointed two outside lawyers to lead the prosecution case against me. This is counter to the long-held claim by PH previously that the AGC should never have appointed an outside lawyer in Tan Sri Shafee to act as prosecutor in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trials. Now the AGC has appointed not one but two outside lawyers to act as prosecutors.
3. As I have recently disclosed via bank documents, I have received substantial amounts directly as a political donation from Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Finance and a Saudi Arabia prince who acted for King Abdullah.
4. These monies were used to pay Tan Sri Shafee towards account of payment of fees for services that his firm rendered as lawyers for my party over many cases over the years including for election petition cases in GE12 and GE13 for BN leaders such as former PM Tun Abdullah Badawi, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and many others. A lawyer works for fees and he or she is entitled to payment for their services.
5. Charging Tan Sri Shafee for receiving payments for legal services rendered sets a very dangerous legal precedent for all lawyers, professionals and businesses.
No one will be safe if the government choose to victimise or to politically persecute you.
6. The speed of Tan Sri Shafee’s persecution is also questionable as it comes mere days after Tan Sri Shafee had correctly pointed out that is was the current Prime Minister who had ordered to make Tan Sri Shafee as 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.
7. The timing of Tan Sri Shafee’s charges is surprising as I have yet to be interviewed by MACC or had a chance to submit my documents over this case. This means that investigations were clearly not complete before Tan Sri Shafee was charged.
8. Tan Sri Shafee’s persecution also comes hot on the heels on the AGC controversially dropping two corruption charges against the current Finance Minister – a case that was already undergoing trial where 20 witnesses have been heard.”
Additionally, more than a dozen other charges against Pakatan political leaders and those aligned to them were also similarly dropped in the previous months.
The lawyer, Tan Sri Shafee in an earlier statement issued on 8th September had said: “My firm and I have acted as the lawyers on retainer for Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak and UMNO for many years until now. Under the UMNO party constitution, Dato’ Sri Najib has been empowered to manage and disburse party funds for the benefit of his party and is a practise that is no different from past UMNO presidents. I have never said i have never been paid by Dato’ Sri Najib or UMNO as this is illogical as it is public knowledge that both parties have engaged me and my firm on numerous occasions in the past. My previous statement on this matter was very clear as to say that I have not been paid to act as prosecutor in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s case. As to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s claim that the Attorney General Office (AGC) should never had allowed me to prosecute his case as appointing an outside prosecutor is not an ordinary practice by the attorney general, let me point out to you that our current attorney general had just announced last week that they have appointed not one but TWO outside prosecutors in Sulaiman Abdullah and Gopal Sri Ram to act as the chief prosecutors in Dato’ Sri Najib’s case. Sulaiman Abdullah and Gopal Sri Ram had acted to defend Datuk Seri Anwar when I had acted as prosecutor. This is now an interesting reversal as I am now the defence lawyer for Dato’ Sri Najib while they will be the prosecutors.”
— This statement may well have triggered today’s aggressive action by the Malaysian authorities.