KUALA LUMPUR (May 21): The prosecution in Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah's money laundering trial told the High Court here today that the lawyer has given inconsistent versions on the reason for the RM9.5 million payment he received from ex-prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as Shafee had earlier claimed that the money was for his legal fee before claiming that the money was intended to be a loan.
Deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Afzainizam Abdul Aziz said Shafee told the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in 2017 that the money was for his legal fee.
Afzainizam said today Shafee was also recorded to have told the MACC in 2018 that the money was to be a loan to him pending rationalisation of the legal fee already payable to him.
Today, Afzainizam said Shafee claimed in a press statement in 2018 that the RM9.5 million was for the legal fee due to him, pending the rationalisation of legal paperwork as agreed by Najib.
Afzainizam said the court may wish to take into consideration that the money was deposited into Shafee's bank account and not the bank account of law firm Shafee & Co.
"The prosecution will contend that the press statement when read as a whole tells against the monies being a loan," Afzainizam said.
Shafee's trial, which started today, is being conducted before High Court Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin.
Representing Shafee was lawyer Harvinderjit Singh.
Shafee is facing two money laundering charges involving RM9.5 million, which the prosecution alleged was received from Najib.
Shafee is also facing two charges of making false statements to the Inland Revenue Board Of Malaysia (IRB).
On the money laundering charges involving the RM9.5 million, the prosecution alleged that Shafee received the payment in two tranches comprising a RM4.3 million portion in 2013 and a RM5.2 million portion in 2014.
New reports indicated that on Sept 13, 2018, Shafee, who was charged under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, pleaded not guilty to the charges of receiving proceeds from unlawful activity via cheques issued by Najib.
It was reported that the money was remitted into Shafee's CIMB Bank Bhd account.
According to news reports, the prosecution alleged that Shafee received a cheque for RM4.3 million on Sept 13, 2013 and another cheque for RM5.2 million on Feb 17, 2014.
It was reported that Shafee was alleged to have committed both offences at CIMB Bank's branch which bears the address J2 & K1, Taman Tunku in Bukit Tunku here.
It was reported that Shafee was also charged under the Income Tax Act 1967 under which he faces two charges of being involved in transactions of proceeds from unlawful activity by making inaccurate statements to the IRB.
According to news reports, Shafee was alleged to have committed the offences at IRB's Duta branch along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim here.
At the High Court here today, two prosecution witnesses testified against Shafee.
The first prosecution witness was AmBank (M) Bhd branch manager Uma Devi Raghavan, followed by Rosnita Ahmad, who is the branch manager for CIMB Bank's branch in Bukit Tunku.
Uma Devi verified that both cheques, which were produced in court as evidence, came from Najib's AmBank account.
She said today that after the RM4.3 million payment was made to Shafee in September 2013, Najib was left with RM69.1 million in his bank account.
According to her, Najib subsequently transferred another RM5.2 million to Shafee in February 2014.
After the transfer, Najib was left with RM23.2 million in his bank account, according to Uma Devi.
Rosnita, during her testimony today, produced Shafee's CIMB Bank statements for September 2013 and February 2014 as evidence in court.
The September 2013 statement showed there was a RM4.3 million payment that went into Shafee's CIMB Bank account.
Shafee's bank statement for February 2014 revealed that there was a RM5.2 million payment into his CIMB Bank account.
Today, Rosnita said: "I also confirm that the balance [in the account] before the transaction was RM33,173.87 and the balance after the incoming transaction was RM5,233,173.87."
The trial before Muhammad Jamil today is scheduled to resume next Friday (May 28, 2021).