KUALA LUMPUR: DAP lawmaker Ramkarpal Singh today said a thorough investigation must be carried out on the ‘new discovery’ that former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had paid Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah RM9.5 million to lead the prosecution team in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy II appeal trial in 2015.
In a statement, Ramkarpal said that a probe is crucial as the alleged payment may be tantamount to a breach of the prosecution’s integrity.
“The said ‘new information,’ which amounts to fresh evidence in court, raises a most serious allegation that Shafee may have had an interest in the prosecution of Anwar in his sodomy 2 appeals in the Court of Appeal and Federal Court.
“No doubt, the law provides for the appointment of Shafee to represent the government in the said appeals as an advocate and solicitor, but such an appointment must be free from bias or suspicion as the integrity of the prosecution in the said appeals cannot, at any cost, be seen to have been compromised,” he said.
Ramkarpal noted that the ‘fresh evidence’ contradicts Shafee’s previous statement in which he denied that he received such monies from Najib.
“Shafee is on record as describing as ‘nonsense’ (the claim that) he was paid RM9.5 million by Najib, which indicates that he himself is well aware of the seriousness of such an allegation.
“However, fresh evidence by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AG-C) directly contradicts Shafee’s (assertion) that the said allegation is ‘nonsense.’
“This strikes at the very core of the prosecution of the said appeals as, if the prosecutor had an interest in their outcomes – having been remunerated by a potential witness (Najib) – then surely the said prosecutions cannot be said to be free from bias and suspicion,” Ramkarpal said, adding that Shafee must respond to the allegation.
He said Shafee must clear the air to ensure that the integrity of the prosecution’s team was intact during the appeal.
“His failure to (respond) will only attract an irresistible inference that his position as prosecutor in the said appeals was indeed compromised,” he added.
In a statement issued by his office on Thursday, Anwar said an affidavit signed by an officer in the AG-C substantiates his allegation that substantial payment was made to Shafee by Najib between Sept 2013 and Feb 2014.
“Appointing an outside prosecutor is not an ordinary practice by the Attorney General, and is even more irregular in this case, when the individual appointed is a known close confidante of Najib’s, who is himself materially involved in the case.
“The fact that Shafee also received RM9.5 million from Najib’s personal bank account during the time frame of his role as prosecutor in my appeal destroys his credibility as an unbiased agent of the Attorney General’s Chambers,” he said.
It was reported that the affidavit, which names Siti Rahayu Mohd Mumazaini, alleges that two cheques were issued by Najib – one on Sept 11, 2013 for RM4.3 million and another on Feb 14, 2014 for RM5.2 million.
Shafee allegedly received RM9.5 million in two tranches of RM4.3 million and RM5.2 million in his bank accounts in Sept 13, 2013 and Feb 17, 2014, respectively.
Rahayu said the information was obtained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) following a probe into Shafee under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
Shafee did not respond to NSTP’s requests for comment. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd