WHETHER the prime minister paid or did not pay the lead prosecutor in Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial almost RM10 million would have been of no relevance to the trial, says Umno supreme council member Nazri Abdul Aziz.
Pressed to answer the question of whether the alleged payment from the prime minister, if it had indeed occurred, would have affected the outcome of the trial, Nazri said payment to the prosecutor of the case would have had no bearing on the court’s decision.
“No it shouldn’t (have an impact). The only thing that can change the outcome is if the judge was paid off.
“It is not like, if you pay RM10 million (to the prosecutor) the trial will be fast, if you pay RM5 million, the trial will be slow,” he told Malaysiakini.
However, the culture and tourism minister said he personally did not believe the Sarawak Report’s claim that Prime Minister Najib Razak had paid lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah RM9.5 million.
“I don’t believe that. Why would Najib pay him? The government has to pay (Shafee) not Najib. Sarawak Report has no credibility,” said Nazri.
Nazri said prosecutors were paid to prosecute, but said he did not know how much Shafee was paid for his role in the trial.
In March 2015, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Departmant Nancy Shukri told Parliament that Shafee was paid a fee of RM1,000 for serving as the lead prosecutor in the sodomy trial of Anwar, de facto opposition leader.
She also told the house that Shafee had not sought a fee for his services.
“He had not wanted any payment for his service but we wanted to be transparent and after providing him with the terms of reference, we agreed on a fee,” she said.
On May 31, Whistleblower site Sarawak Report alleged that Shafee received a total of RM9.5 million in two tranches that were paid directly from the prime minister’s 1MDB slush fund accounts.
The report alleged that the money came from the bank account “that had been identified as having been funded by money from the 1MDB subsidiary SRC, which had borrowed some RM4 billion from the civil service pension fund KWAP”.
It alleged that Shafee was paid RM4.3 million in September 2013 and RM5.2 million in February 2014.
Instead of employing a public prosecutor, the government had elected in 2013 to appoint Shafee to lead the prosecution in the Appeal Court against the High Court’s acquittal of Anwar of sodomy charges.
The Appeal Court on March 7, 2014, overturned the High Court’s acquittal of Anwar and sentenced him to five years in jail.
Sarawak Report pointed out that the second payment of RM5.2 million was made to Shafee two weeks before the the overturning of the acquittal of Anwar.
Following the alleged expose, calls have mounted for a police investigation into the claims.
The latest to call for a probe is the Malaysian Bar, which today urged police to investigate the “serious” allegations against Shafee.
“Police must probe the case thoroughly since the allegation is very serious,” said Bar president George Varughese.
Shafee did not respond to calls or messages from The Malaysian Insight.