KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 — Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said today that he was appointed to be the lead prosecutor in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II appeals as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had demanded for it.
Shafee, a senior private lawyer, explained that the then-prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was not keen to appoint him as prosecutor by way of fiat as he did not want to offend the then Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail.
“In fact, he (Najib) was most reluctant.
However, it was Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who insisted that I be appointed as the special prosecutor in the Anwar’s appeals as Tun Mahathir did not have the confidence that the Attorney General’s Chambers would be able to competently manage the appeals.
“This is probably due to the fact that the Attorney General’s Chambers had lost the Sodomy II case in the High Court. Further, they had lost earlier in the Federal Court the Sodomy I case,” he said in a six-page statement.
Shafee further claimed that Dr Mahathir had through lawyer Matthias Chang summoned him around June or July 2013 for a meeting at the Perdana Leadership Foundation
in Putrajaya, adding that he had learnt that Najib as the then-prime minister was invited to meet Dr Mahathir at a slightly earlier time.
“I learned subsequently that Mahathir has managed to persuade Najib to convince the Attorney General to appoint me by way of FIAT as a special prosecutor in these appeals. I was told of this after Najib had left the Perdana Foundation, by Mahathir himself.
“I learnt from Matthias Chang that my appointment as the special prosecutor was the first of the six demands Mahathir made to Najib at that meeting, for otherwise he would go against Najib,” Shafee claimed.
Shafee said he was then informed within a matter of days by both Dr Mahathir’s office and the Prime Minister’s Office to meet the AG for the purposes of the appointment as everything had been agreed to for his appointment as prosecutor in the Anwar case.
Shafee said that a written agreement dated July 19, 2013 was drafted with the terms of his appointment as an ad hoc deputy public prosecutor by way of fiat, including the term that RM1,000 would be the consideration for his appointment.
“For purposes of record, I have never taken a single cent from the government of Malaysia or anybody else in relation to my undertaking of the prosecution of the appeals. I must stress that even the RM1,000 was never claimed by me to date,” he said, having said that the then-AG and Najib were “fully aware” of the contract’s terms.
Shafee’s statement today was made after a renewed controversy on the reason for his RM9.5 million payment from Najib in the past, with Anwar questioning the payment allegedly made during the timeframe when Shafee was acting as the lead prosecutor in the Sodomy II appeals.
Shafee today clarified in the same statement that the RM9.5 million payment that he received was not for his services as prosecutor in Anwar’s Sodomy II appeals, but explained that it was for his legal work done for 46 election petitions for Barisan Nasional in 2004 and 2006.
Dr Mahathir was prime minister from 1981 to 2003, and returned to the position for the second time this May when the Pakatan Harapan coalition swept into power.
Najib, formerly both the Umno president and Barisan Nasional chairman, was prime minister from 2009 to this May.