The Trial of Najib Razak: Shafee Abdullah (his ‘hotshot’ lawyer) versus Sulaiman Abdullah (ex Malaysian Bar President) and Gopal Sri Ram (retired Federal Court Judge)…



24 November 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak will apply to strike out the 25 corruption charges against him over the RM2.3 billion which allegedly originated from sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The former prime minister also will seek to disqualify the lead prosecutor, Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, from the case by the end of this month.

Najib’s lead counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, said this before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah during the hearing of the cases at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Friday.

During the 30-minute proceeding, the court re-read Najib’s corruption charges after the cases were ordered to be transferred from Sessions Court to the High Court last week.

Najib pleaded not guilty and claimed trial to all charges.

Shafee, when met after the proceedings, said total conflict of interest was among reasons for them seeking to disqualify Gopal from leading the prosecution team.

“We are contemplating striking out the charges but we cannot disclose the reasons for now,” said Shafee.

The court had earlier fixed between April 15 to May 3 next year for the trial date.

Gopal, during the proceedings, said the prosecution would be summoning 52 witnesses, with the witness statements expected to be complete by early March next year.


31 August 2018

Sulaiman Abdullah replaces AG as lead prosecutor in Najib case

PETALING JAYA: Attorney-General Tommy Thomas announced today he is stepping aside as lead prosecutor in the coming trial of former prime minister Najib Razak, and appointed two senior lawyers to handle the prosecution and preparation for the case.

He named Sulaiman Abdullah, a former Malaysian Bar president, to lead the prosecution.

Retired Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram, who has returned to private practice, has been appointed senior deputy public prosecutor to spearhead the process of studying the investigation papers (IPs), preparing charges and prosecuting the accused at the trial set for Feb 12 to March 29 next year.

The two lawyers have agreed to waive their fees and will serve on a pro bono basis.


5 July 2018


Judge in Najib’s case is brother of Umno Pahang exco member

PETALING JAYA: Attorney-General (A-G) Tommy Thomas said he is was not aware that the High Court judge in former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s case is the brother of Umno Pahang state executive council member Datuk Seri Mohd Soffi Abdul Razak (pic).

It has been learnt that High Court judge Datuk Mohd Sofian Abd Razak is the younger brother of Umno Benta state assemblyman Mohd Soffi.

Upon hearing the news, Thomas said that: “This is the first time I heard about this.”

A search found that both Mohd Soffi and Mohd Sofian received the Sri Indera Mahkota Pahang (SIMP) award, which carries the title Datuk, by Sultan Ahmad Shah Sultan Abu Bakar in 2012.

Mohd Soffi, who is chairperson of the Pahang State Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Committee, retained his Benta state seat in the 14th General Election with a slim 340 vote majority. The Benta seat has been held by the 61-year-old politician since 1999.

As for Mohd Sofian, 57, he was appointed a judicial commissioner in 2005 before he was appointed High Court judge in 2007.

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Lawyer Shafee Abdullah

This astonishing case is of course further distinguished by the fact that the leading defence lawyer has arguably almost as extensive a track record of being accused of dishonesty and abuse of process as his client himself.

He has taken on the case after several previous lawyers hired by Najib headed for the exit, however Shafee Abdullah goes way back with the prime minister as the world knows. There is barely a controversial case involving Najib, that has not also involved Shafee over the past decade.

The Altantuya cover-up and the now rejected and discredited prosecution of Anwar Ibrahim were both managed by Shafee. Indeed, over the past few weeks Shafee has been publicly roasted by a high court jusge for having claimed to be the legal representative for Deepak Jaikashan in the Altantuya cover-up, when in fact Deepak complained he was being blackmailed to accept Shafee as his representative to enable Najib to control his submissions in the case.

The judge threw Shafee’s out , along with this lawyer’s cooked up defence, which Deepak complained had been constructed on behalf of his secret genuine client, Najib Razak, not the actual defendant, whom he was purporting to represent.

Last year Shafee attempted to sue fellow lawyers, including the present attorney general Tommy Thomas, for libel over their reporting of him to the Bar Council for improper conduct over the prosecution of Anwar Ibrahim.  Shafee’s conduct during that prosecution had indeed been the subject of much concern on many levels and his libel case was thrown out by the judge on the grounds that the reporting of the matter to the Bar Council was well justified.

So, this allegedly duplicitous pair are now to be the key players in the upcoming headline grabbing trial where Najib is defending himself against charges brought by none other, of course, than Tommy Thomas.

On the matter of payments, Sarawak Report has already revealed that Najib issued Shafee two cheques totalling RM9.5 million in late 2013 and early 2014, from one of the suspect SRC funded accounts that are at the centre of this trial.

The reason for those two payments have never been explained, although they coincided with the period during which Shafee usurped the role of the public prosecutor in the Anwar case, which he claimed he had performed for free as a public service to the nation.

He has yet to comment whether he will be taking a fee to defend Najib. However, what is certain is that any writer would be hard pressed make up a stranger set of circumstances or such a narrative of role reversals as the one about to be played out in the Malaysian High Court before the eyes of the world over coming weeks.

– Sarawak Report

21 June 2018

Lawyers’ group urges probe into Shafee Abdullah’s RM9.5m payment in Anwar case

KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 ― Lawyers for Liberty want the police and anti-corruption officers to investigate the alleged RM9.5 million payment to private lawyer Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah who acted as prosecutor in the second sodomy trial of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Its adviser N. Surendran said there had been enough indications of hanky panky from the June 2017 report by whistleblower website Sarawak Report for a probe into the payment, alleged by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He also asked if the new Attorney-General Tommy Thomas has been asked to look into the case, noting the Pakatan Harapan administration has been reviewing a number of cases in its promise for reform since taking control of Putrajaya last month.

“Although the new reforming government has been in power since 10 May, there has been no news of the Najib-Shafee 9.5 million case.

“Have Najib and Shafee been questioned by police or MACC on this since the PH government took power? What is the status of the investigation and has the new A-G been briefed?” the lawyer asked in a statement today.

Surendran, who was part of Anwar’s legal defence team during the Sodomy II trial, said the payment needs to be scrutinised urgently as the source of the money is suspected to have come from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds.

“This is an extremely serious matter, as it involves the integrity of the justice system and the right to a fair trial of an accused person, Anwar Ibrahim,” he added.

5 June 2018

Excerpts from:

Read the story on Sarawalk Report

26 May 2016

Shafee loses defamation suit after court rules Bar motion truthful

KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — The High Court ruled today against Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah in his defamation lawsuit against the Malaysian Bar, its former president and two lawyers, saying the duo’s move to censure the Umno lawyer for his conduct post-Sodomy II was justified.

Although High Court judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah found the words in the lawyers’ motion against Shafee at the Bar’s annual general meeting (AGM) last year defamatory, she said the duo had successfully proved there was substantial truth in the motion.

“Hence to my mind, there was some truth, substantive truth in the motion filed by the first defendant and second defendant,” she said when ruling that senior lawyers Tommy Thomas and Tan Sri VC George had succeeded in their defence of justification.

Hanipah highlighted that Shafee had clearly spoken as a lawyer that was still holding the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ appointment to represent the prosecution in Anwar’s case at a “political forum” organised by an Umno-linked organisation.

She noted that Shafee had claimed he was trying to debunk Anwar’s political conspiracy theory and defend the Federal Court’s decision to convict the latter of sodomy, but pointed out that the apex court had not accepted that theory in its judgment.

She also said Shafee had admitted that he had during the Kelana Jaya forum attributed comments to Anwar that were not actual statements by Anwar, besides noting that Shafee had criticised Anwar’s legal team and the politician’s exercise of his right to give a statement from the dock instead of being cross-examined.

Hanipah said Shafee should not have publicly shared “in camera evidence” or evidence that the Sodomy II trial judge had said must not be disclosed outside the courts.

“But for an advocate and solicitor and deputy public prosecutor holding a fiat, to my mind, the camera evidence should not have been divulged to the public. It was not disputed that it was a public forum and online streamed, and also there was members of the public,” the judge said.

Hanipah also found that the two lawyers had successfully proven their alternative defence of fair comment as Shafee’s conduct was of public interest.

As for the defence of qualified privilege raised by all four sued by Shafee, Hanipah said they had shown they had the legal and moral duty to both present and receive the motion while Shafee had failed to show they had malice in doing so.

“Based on the facts and circumstances, the first defendant and the second defendant being senior members of the Bar had interest to present the motion to the Malaysian Bar and Malaysian Bar had interest to receive as it concerns misconduct by one of the members,” he said.

Hanipah found that Shafee had failed to prove his claim of tort of conspiracy to defame him as he had not shown there was an agreement to do so.

– See more at:

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