Shafee's 'Get Out Of Jail Free' Card Tells Voters All They Need To Know

Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah walked free from four criminal charges linked to RM9.5 million from former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court this morning ruled that the prosecution has failed to establish a prima facie case against the veteran legal practitioner.

Today was set for a decision at the end of the prosecution’s case involving the alleged laundering of the funds.

During the open-court proceedings, trial judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin said the prosecution failed to prove that the two cheques – one worth RM4.3 million and the other RM5.2 million – were the proceeds from unlawful activities.

“The prosecution failed to show that these monies were the result of unlawful activity,” Jamil said, adding that prosecutors failed to establish any predicate evidence that Najib or anybody else was linked to any unlawful activity.

“To prove that the RM4.3 million and the RM5.2 million are the proceeds of unlawful activity, the prosecution must prove the unlawful activity whereby the money was obtained.

“I find from the testimony proffered by the prosecution that there is no evidence on any predicate offence involving the RM4.3 million and RM5.2 million,” Jamil said…

… The lawyer was also charged with two counts of engaging in transactions resulting from illegal activities, namely submitting incorrect tax returns, which is in violation of paragraph 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967 for the financial years ending Dec 31, 2013, and Dec 31, 2014.

He was purported to have omitted income of RM4.3 million received on Sept 13, 2013, and RM5.2 million that was received on Feb 17, 2014, in his tax returns.

Our comment

Voters can consult the facts they know and then consider the conclusions arrived at by this judge.

Everyone in Malaysia knows that Shafee was paid his RM9.5 million in cash from Najib’s bank account – the one that received the billions which were directly stolen from 1MDB.

Global investigations have made it crystal clear how that public money was stolen and then secreted into Najib’s account using bogus off-shore investment funds and an Abu Dhabi bank that has now been fined with its chairman thrown in jail.

However, the High Court Judge has complained the prosecution failed to provide evidence that the RM4.3 million and the RM5.2 million were the proceeds of unlawful activity. One is left to wonder how they could have been so negligent?  Or, as the jubilant Shafee put it, “I think the reasons provided [by the judge] are not only sound, they are also original and groundbreaking”. Indeed!

Everyone also knows, because it has never been disputed, that Shafee never mentioned the receipt of this RM9.5 million in cash from the prime minster to the tax man either.

Yet the lawyer has likewise been let off on the tax evasion charges also brought against him. What are ordinary folk who worry every year about filing their tax forms correctly and without mistakes (on pain of possible imprisonment) to make of that?

These charges did not even start to deal with WHY Najib might have seen fit to pay this lawyer so much money. Was it for his services offered at the time of the murder of Altantuya?

Or was it for agreeing to prosecute Najib’s arch political rival, Anwar Ibrahim, ‘for free on behalf of the nation’ when the public prosecutors balked at appealing Anwar’s acquittal on charges shown to have been personally orchestrated by this criminal client of his (Najib)?

Shafee has never explained either why he turned up at the hospital on the day of the murder of banker Hussein Najadi, hovering round the ambulance. Najadi had filed a police report about Najib’s illegal accounts after all, so had Shafee been asked to watch the case?

The reasons behind Najib’s vast payments to Shafee remain undisclosed because Shafee had sought to keep them secret rather than detailing them in his accounts like one is supposed to do.

However, Shafee is just one of a raft of UMNO henchmen who have escaped the consequences of their criminal charges following the political coup by the election losers of 2018. Indeed, ‘getting off’ appears to have been the primary motivation for seizing power and their primary motive as they seek to win GE15 – by hook or crook.

The fact that the likes of Shafee have raced to get their botched prosecutions settled before the election as opposed to after is perhaps a sign they realise that voters may not share their priorities in this respect.

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