MACC investigating officer Mohamad Farid Jabar says the lawyer tried to disguise it as a loan instead of legal fees.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court was told yesterday that lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had tried to disguise the “identity” of the RM9.5 million received from Najib Razak as a loan, when the money was paid for legal services rendered to Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN).
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer Mohamad Farid Jabar, 37, said that according to two recordings of statements taken by MACC in 2017 and 2018, Shafee had said that the RM9.5 million was for legal fees, but in another recorded statement and a media statement, the lawyer said the money was a loan.
“Initially, Shafee had his statement recorded (in 2017 and 2018) as a witness related to the receipt of RM9.5 million from Najib, whereby Shafee was one of those who received money from Najib when the latter was being investigated by the MACC.
“Shafee’s explanation through the two recorded statements that I obtained clearly proves that the receipt of RM9.5 million was the payment of legal fees for the 2004 and 2006 election petition cases that had been completed,” he said, adding that the statements were recorded by two MACC officers.
The eighth prosecution witness said this during re-examination by deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz in the trial of Shafee, who is charged with receiving RM9.5 million in funds obtained from illegal activities from Najib, and two counts of making false statements to the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN).
Farid said he had lodged a complaint on Sept 4, 2018, over the alleged offence of receiving RM9.5 million by Shafee, whereby the senior lawyer was a suspect in his investigation paper.
“My investigation was aimed at finding out whether the receipt of two cheques amounting to RM9.5 million had been declared in Form B for the years of assessment (LHDN) 2013 and 2014. From there, my investigation found that it was not reported.
“My investigation also found that, based on the recordings and media statements, he (Shafee) tried to hide the true identity of the RM9.5 million he received as a loan, when the RM9.5 million was actually payment for legal services provided by Shafee to Umno and BN,” he said.
To Afzainizam’s question of why he did not issue a notice to Shafee and Shafee & Co, to submit invoices regarding the legal fees to Umno and BN, Farid said Shafee himself had confirmed that he did not request any invoices from Najib because he was too “shy” to do so.
“Besides that, the cheque (for RM9.5 million) was made personally by Najib to Shafee because the 2004 and 2006 election petition cases had been completed,” he added.
After the final prosecution witness finished testifying, Afzainizam informed judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin that the prosecution rested its case.
“The prosecution rests its case today after calling eight witnesses. The prosecution does not offer any witnesses to the defence,” he said.
Counsel Harvinderjit Singh, representing Shafee, thanked the prosecution and Jamil for hearing the case.
Jamil then ordered both parties to submit their notes of proceedings on June 12 for the court to examine and compare them with the court recording transcript (CRT) to determine their accuracy.
“Both parties must also file written submissions on or before July 26 while oral submissions have been set for Sept 15,” he said.
Among the prosecution witnesses called to testify at the trial which began on May 21, 2021 were Ambank Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager R Uma Devi, CIMB Bank Bukit Tunku branch manager Rosnita Ahmad and former LHDN officer Syed Nasrul Fahmi Syed Mohamad.
On Sept 13, 2018, Shafee pleaded not guilty to receiving proceeds from unlawful activities via cheques issued by Najib, which were remitted into Shafee’s CIMB Bank account. He allegedly received a cheque for RM4.3 million on Sept 13, 2013, and another for RM5.2 million on Feb 17, 2014.
The charges, under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, carry a maximum fine of RM5 million, up to five years’ jail, or both upon conviction.
Shafee also faces two charges of involvement in the transactions of proceeds from unlawful activities, that is by making inaccurate statements in contravention of Paragraph 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967 for the financial years ending Dec 31, 2013 and Dec 31, 2014.
He allegedly committed the offences at LHDN’s Jalan Duta branch at Kompleks Pejabat Kerajaan, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim on March 3, 2015 and June 29, 2015.
For this, Shafee is liable to a maximum of 15 years in jail and a fine of not less than five times the proceeds of the unlawful activities, if convicted.