New evidence may lead to Anwar's conviction being overturned, say lawyers

Bede Hong

PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim (pic) says his lawyers have received an affidavit signed by an Attorney-General's Chambers officer backing his claim that Umno lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was paid RM9.5 million after prosecuting him. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, September 7, 2018.

FRESH evidence that Muhammad Shafee Abdullah received RM9.5 million for his services as an ad hoc prosecutor in Anwar Ibrahim’s second sodomy trial will likely lead to a new hearing to overturn the conviction, said lawyers.

They said such a hearing, if granted, could proceed independent of any probe into alleged wrongdoing.

Anwar, who was convicted in 2014 and jailed a year later, yesterday said his lawyers had received an affidavit signed by an Attorney-General’s Chambers officer backing his claim that the Umno lawyer was paid the amount after prosecuting him.

The officer claimed that former prime minister Najib Razak had issued two cheques on September 11, 2013 and February 14, 2014, for RM4.3 million and RM5.2 million, respectively, and that Shafee received the money in his account on September 13, 2013 and February 17, 2014.

Anwar, who is the PKR president-elect, previously said Najib had paid Shafee from September 2013 to February 2014, when the lawyer was made a special prosecutor in his sodomy appeal at the Federal Court.

Lawyers said the evidence would likely bolster Anwar’s appeal against a high court decision in February, which struck out a previous application to overturn his conviction due to a lack of evidence.

“The new evidence came to Anwar’s knowledge after the application was struck out,” said Sankara Nair, who represented Anwar in both sodomy trials.

“Now, what they want is an application to admit this affidavit as fresh evidence, which was not available at the high court level.”

Anwar had based his application on a Sarawak Report article published in June last year, alleging that the funds transferred came from a bank account that was funded by money stolen by Najib from former 1Malaysia Development Bhd subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd, which had borrowed RM4 billion from civil service pension fund Retirement Fund Inc, or KWAP.

Anwar previously said Shafee’s appointment was not free from bias or suspicion, and the prosecution’s integrity was compromised as Shafee was paid by Najib.

He had also applied in vain for a court order to reveal details of Shafee’s personal account.

Shafee last year denied any such payment, and slammed the claim as “nonsense”.

“The Court of Appeal may send the matter back to the high court to be heard,” said Sankara, adding that any police probe into the matter was unlikely to affect the case.

“Whether Shafee is charged later is not the issue here. Ad hoc prosecutors can actually be paid by the government. It’s not an offence, and we cannot speculate.

“However, this new information confirms what was stated in the previous application.

“Now, Anwar has an affidavit confirming that money did get transferred into his (Shafee’s) account.”

Umno lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah (pic) has rubbished as 'nonsense' the claim that he was paid RM9.5 million after prosecuting in Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trial. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, September 7, 2018.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said Putrajaya would look into claims that Shafee had received money from Najib to prosecute Anwar.

However, he said, the probe would prioritise Najib’s wrongdoings.

“The investigation papers on Shafee’s case will have to be opened under the main file, that is, Najib’s,” said Dr Mahathir’s lawyer, Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla.

“This is because the allegation is that the money originated from Najib’s account, which, in itself, is believed to have originated from 1MDB.

“If there is any wrongdoing on Najib’s part, it will be taken to court. If there was criminal wrongdoing, the proper charges will follow suit, against all the culprits.”

He said Shafee would likely continue to act as Najib’s lawyer in the SRC International graft case.

“At this moment, because there are no charges, it would be improper to get him to stop acting (for Najib). To ask a person who may face an investigation to stop carrying on with his life is unfair.

“What if at the end of the day, there are no charges brought against him? One should wait until the investigation is concluded.”

DAP’s national legal bureau chairman, Ramkarpal Singh, called for the fresh evidence to be “thoroughly investigated”.

“Shafee cannot remain silent on such a serious allegation. He must clear the air and categorically deny the same, as his failure to do so will only attract an irresistible inference that his position as a prosecutor in the said appeal was indeed compromised,” said the Bukit Gelugor MP in a statement today.

“RM9.5 million is a lot of money to be paid to a lawyer, irrespective of how good the lawyer is,” said former Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong.

“However, we have only heard from one side. We should wait to hear from the other side, namely, Shafee and Najib, before making conclusions. As those in law say, ‘audi alteram partem’ (let the other side be heard as well).”

Shafee did not respond to requests for comment.

In May, Anwar received a full pardon from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for his sodomy convictions, and had the said convictions expunged from records. – September 7, 2018.

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  • There is clear evidence of perjury on Shafee's part. Unless the law is applied at whim and fancy, he should expect to be charged accordingly.

    Posted 5 years ago by Arul Inthirarajah · Reply

  • Let Shafee taste the medicine that he dished out for others. This low down subteranean cretin shud be hauled up and severyly punished for mockery of justice and judiciary.

    Posted 5 years ago by Lee Lee · Reply

  • Ha ha said the Clown..........

    Posted 5 years ago by Azis Yusoff · Reply

  • Anwar has got a full pardon from the Agung with no admission of guilt . My understanding whatever conviction he has is wiped clean and there is no need to revisit the matter . However the revelation would be important from the 1MDB investigation on the 9.5 million as fees and Shafees conduct as prosecutor has been compromised. With this new evidence , the Bar Council now must investigate if Shafee has breach its rules . If he has , he should be stuck off the rolls .

    Posted 5 years ago by John Fam · Reply

  • Shafee is a bloody crook. He should be punished for the 9.5 million he received from Najib the master crook.

    Posted 5 years ago by Ramakrishnan Thangavelu · Reply

  • As matter of fact police or macc should file a case against Shafee for the RM 9.5 million. Do not prolong matters as we are very sure this crook already make all necessary cover up or escape route etc. He just hv to fly to India and stay in rutal or remote area be the big boss there.

    Posted 5 years ago by MANN Abdul · Reply

  • Shafee Abdullah received RM9.5 million after the trial ? So what is so new or special? Lawyers only get paid once the case is successfully "settle" (who would paid their lawyer before a case is settle?).. don't be stupid ok!

    Posted 5 years ago by Mohd Nordin · Reply

  • Anwar recieved a "pardon" from the YDPA... a pardon is only given IF a convicted "accepted his guilt and is now remorseful, and promised not to do it again"... so Anwar is "guilty" as charged! and now he got a pardon... okay understand ! That is the laws - not some kedai mamat empty talk or speculation!

    Posted 5 years ago by Mohd Nordin · Reply

  • Paid or not is another issue. The main issue was sodomization has took place and shafie was to ensure anwar punished for it. Dont twist thing

    Posted 5 years ago by Tze jen Pao · Reply

  • Has Shafee paid any taxes involving the RM9.5 million fees paid into his account by Najib? Is this really for his legal services for UMNO over a decade? Where is the official receipt for this transaction?

    Posted 5 years ago by Roger 5201 · Reply