PUTRAJAYA: It was an emotional tell-all for back-from-the-twilight Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull.
The former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy chief commissioner is back as the head honcho after two years in the wilderness.
He choked while speaking, wiped away tears and had his head buried in his hands as he relived the harrowing two years since his “retirement”.
He told a story of bitter disappointment, fear and disillusionment but the real story was of his comeback – and his determination to finish some unfinished business.
Shukri, who has made a stunning comeback after opting for an early retirement in 2016, said the case involving SRC International and the RM2.6bil found in the former prime minister’s personal account was not something that was made up.
“This is a true story. It’s too big an issue to protect. Tan Sri Abu Kassim (Mohamed, former MACC chief) and I never gave up despite the many threats that we received from investigating the case.
“We even went to see ministers to convince them about the case but only three believed and were brave enough to voice out,” he told a packed press conference.
In his tell-all, the 58-year-old named former ministers in Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s Cabinet – Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah – as those who believed in the case at the cost of their jobs.
Muhyiddin and Shafie were removed from their ministerial posts in 2015 while Ahmad Husni quit in 2016.
After the May 9 general election, Shukri said several ex-ministers had contacted him to express their regret for not believing him.
Shukri said he and Abu Kassim had also sought audiences with the Council of Malay Rulers and called for the Malay Rulers to replace Najib with either Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi or Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
It was to no avail.
On his appointment as MACC boss, Shukri admitted that he had planned to say “no” to the Prime Minister’s offer when he was called to meet Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on May 14.
“I am retired, enjoying life as grandfather to a beautiful granddaughter. When I was called to meet the Prime Minister, I had planned to reject the offer. But when you are face to face with him, it’s hard to say no.
“In agreeing to accept the offer, I put a condition, which is to finish my unfinished job (investigating the SRC International case),” he said, recounting his experience in investigating SRC International and the RM2.6bil fund.
This ranged from being followed, witnesses being taken away, receiving bullets in the mail and threats of being sacked.
“If you ask me if I’m happy to be back, the answer is no. So many things have happened. But I’m taking up this job for the country,” Shukri said.
Shukri said MACC was ready to take the case to court when former Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail was removed from office on July 27, 2015.
“The day before he was sacked, I was at the AG’s office at around 6pm. He asked if I was ready to proceed with the case. Before this could take place, Gani’s appointment was terminated,” he said.
Following this, Shukri then went to the United States because he had been warned that “he could be next” and that he would be charged with conspiracy to bring down the government.
In Washington, Shukri realised he was being followed and managed to get photographs of the men who were tailing him.
“I sent their photos to then Inspector-General of Police (Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar) and told him to send more efficient people to follow me,” he said.
Shukri sought help from a contact at the New York Police Department who provided him with three bodyguards.
While there, Shukri received more shocking news – his officers were arrested.
“I cried like a child in front of a Mat Salleh (white man). I felt helpless and frustrated for failing to protect my men,” he said, adding at that time Abu Kassim was also indisposed as he was hospitalised.
At this point, the MACC top man was close to tears and had to stop his press conference for a few seconds to regain his composure.
“What Abu Kassim and I tried to do was to regain the country’s money. Instead, we were labelled as traitors,” he said.
On his feelings about Najib being in the MACC building to have his statement recorded, Shukri gave an assurance that he would be accorded the respect due to a former prime minister.
“He is still our former prime minister. Let the law take its course. I’m not here for revenge,” he said.