THE EX PRIME MINISTER AND HIS HOTSHOT LAWYER…
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
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
4 June 2018
The significance of a court ruling in KL today was perhaps muted by the extraordinary excitement of these moving times. However, that ruling has opened the floodgates against a cover-up exercise that has strained the Najib administration for over a decade.
As Sarawak Report exclusively reported at the time, Deepak had no desire to plead other than guilty for his part, since he plainly wished for the greater guilt of those who had engaged him to fix the cover-up to be exposed.
We published an exclusive copy of the original defence drawn up by Deepak’s lawyers, which acknowledged all of Selvi’s allegations and named Najib and Rosmah as the “masterminds and beneficiaries” of the conspiracy to cover-up PI Bala’s evidence.
However, moments from putting that document into court last November, Najib’s agents intevened in the form of another lawyer, Shafee Abdullah, who together with the Tabung Haji Chairman, Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, liased between Deepak and the Prime Minister to force a change of story.
As Deepak has informed Sarawak Report, Najib was abusing his powers as PM/Finance Minister to hold huge tax bills over Deepak’s head, which he offered to drop if Deepak cooperated. Ironically, those bills were linked to land deals that Deepak had conducted on behalf of Najib’s own wife Rosmah, for whom he was acting as a proxy, says the businessman.
To get off millions in tax demands, Deepak agreed to play ball and allow Shafee to place a new defence that denied all Selvi’s allegations. However, right up to the election Deepak and his ‘new lawyer’ Shafee wrangled with each other and the court, finding excuses to avoid a hearing where Deepak could be cross examined about his change of tune.
What a Difference an Election Makes
When the case returned to court after the election what a different story Deepak had to tell. In an exclusive interview with Sarawak Report last month the businessman had already confided that the endless hospital appointments, designed to keep him out of the witness box to avoid embarrassment before polling day, were of course a sham.
Azeez, says Deepak, had organised a doctor to provide a certificate and place him overnight in hospital, a matter he conspired over with Shafee. Deepak has played recordings to Sarawak Report of those conversations between himself, lawyer Shafee and the agent of Najib, Azeez, where the fake hospital appointments were arranged.
Today, again before the judge, Deepak admitted that his first and not the second defence devised by Shafee was the honest statement he plans to stand by. He also made clear he had never formally appointed Shafee, who had represented him only through blackmail.
Both these points were accepted by the judge, leaving Deepak to face cross-examination on the case at the next hearings, as well as Shafee himself and the other witnesses named in the case.
Face The Music
The consequences for lawyer Shafee, now accused of faking hospital appointments and blackmailing a reluctant client on behalf of a separate interest, namely Najib and Rosmah, the prospect of the later stages of this civil trial are dismal. Not least, because Shafee is likely to be also asked about a combined payment by Najib of RM9 million out of 1MDB money, for services not yet explained.
And what about two other Najib associated lawyers in the case? Selvi’s petition stated that on the night her husband was blackmailed into changing his statutory declaration, in order to remove all reference to Najib, the prominent lawyer Cecil Abraham and his son Sunil joined Bala and Deepak overnight in a hotel room at the Hilton Sentral hotel in KL, in order to draw up that spurious new document.
Deepak, in his first and now revived defence, admitted this claim to be true and confirmed the role of the two lawyers, who had been called into the matter by Najib together with two of his brothers, who helped handle the situation that night. Americk Sidhu is expected to put in a complaint to the Bar Association shortly regarding this disturbing conduct.
Most at risk from the developments in this marathon case, launched by a single widow to avenge her dead husband and compensate her family, are the former PM himself and his wife, described by the defendant himself as ‘masterminds and beneficiaries’ of the ‘conspiracy’ to silence Bala.
For ten years this couple have moved heaven and high water to hold this case at bay, now they no longer have the power to do so and the reason for their apparent attempts to obstruct the course of justice seem set to become fully known to all.
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.