MALAYSIAN police today extended an ‘invitation’ to Sarawak Report editor Claire Brown to assist in investigations into the RM9.5 million allegedly paid to lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah who led the prosecution in Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial.
Sarawak Report had alleged that the money paid to Shafee came from the personal bank account of Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said police had received more than 40 reports on the Sarawak Report article.
“It is unfair for you to just post it in the Sarawak Report. Why don’t you come USto facilitate investigations,” he said at the Federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman this morning.
He said Brown should come forward to provide police with the supporting evidence and documents.
“We will also be looking at the attorney-client privilege,” Khalid said, adding that police have yet to question Shafee as they were still looking through the police reports.
Lawyer-client privilege is the client’s right to refuse to disclose and to prevent any other person from disclosing confidential communications between the client and his lawyer.
Sarawak Report last week reported that RM9.5 million was paid to prominent Umno lawyer Shafee who led the prosecution in Anwar’s sodomy trial at the Federal Court.
A three man bench chaired by Baila Yusuf Wahi sentenced Anwar to five years’ jail just when the then Anwar, who was then Permatang Pauh MP, was getting prepared to contest in a by-election for the Kajang state seat in March 2014.
Sarawak Report said it had seen documents from investigators alleging Najib paid Shafee the money using funds he received from state-owned SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
The whistle-blower website claimed that the money came from the bank account “that had been identified as having been funded by money stolen by the prime minister from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) subsidiary SRC, which had borrowed some RM4 billion from the civil service pension fund (Retirement Fund Inc) KWAP”.
Sarawak Report said Shafee had allegedly received the funds from Najib on Sept 11, 2013 and February 17, 2014.
Following the Sarawak Report allegation, police reports were lodged nationwide.
Among the complainants were PKR Youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, who had said there were four issues the police should investigate.
“They should probe why Prime Minister Najib Razak paid RM9.5 million to Shafee and what was the lawyer’s relationship with the Umno president.
“The third thing we want to know is if the payment is related to Anwar Ibrahim’s case. We also want to know who else received money from SRC International through Najib’s personal account,” said the Selangor executive councillor said.
Opposition leader and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan was considering legal avenues to expose the truth since both the prime minister and Shafee have maintained their silence on this allegation.
Wan Azizah had said the PH presidential council would meet tomorrow to discuss Sarawak Report’s latest claims, and the possibility of legal recourse to get to the bottom of the matter.
Earlier, Anwar, who is serving a five-year jail sentence after he was convicted of sodomy, had also raised several questions, including why the lead prosecutor in his trial had been allegedly paid by the prime minister.
“What was the purpose of the huge funds channelled by Najib into the private account of the lawyer, who was appointed by Najib’s government to handle the prosecution against me?
“The more serious question now is: who else has received money from SRC International through Najib’s personal account?” Anwar had said in a statement.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT