Shafee wants judge hearing his case to be recused

KUALA LUMPUR: Prominent lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah wants the High Court judge presiding over his money-laundering case to be recused.

His lawyer Lawyer Harvinderjit Singh told the court that Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah should not be hearing Muhammad Shafee's case as he would be hearing another criminal case involving his client, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Justice Sequerah is presiding over Najib's case involving 25 graft and money-laundering charges involving RM2.3bil.

However, Harvinderjit said there were no issues with the other two judges hearing Najib's case.

"My client has no issue if the other judges will be hearing this case," he said here Wednesday (Dec 5).

Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram did not object and said that it was up to the court to decide.

"The trial dates are fixed. If your lordship decides to recuse, the trial dates will be taken up by the next judge," he said.

Justice Sequerah ruled that he would be proceeding with the case.

"I do not share the view that I shouldn't be hearing the case. I am proceeding with the case subject to the defence filing a formal application," he said.

The court fixed April 15 next year for case management.

The case is expected to go on trial between June 10 and 20 next year with the exception of June 17 and June 19.

When met by the press outside of the court, Muhammad Shafee said he would be filing a formal application to recuse the judge later this week.

In September, Muhammad Shafee claimed trial to four charges of money-laundering involving RM9.5mil that he received from Najib.

The 66-year-old is accused of receiving proceeds of unlawful activity totalling RM4.3mil on Sept 13, 2013, and RM5.2mil on Feb 17, 2014, through two AmIslamic Bank Bhd cheques issued by the former prime minister.

The cheques were remitted into Muhammad Shafee's CIMB Bank account.

He allegedly committed the two offences at CIMB Bank Bhd, J2 & K1, Taman Tunku, Bukit Tunku here.

The charges under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 carry a fine not exceeding RM5mil or up to five years in jail or both, upon conviction.

The fourth charge relates to the same offence involving the RM5.2mil received from Najib.

Both offences were allegedly committed at the Inland Revenue Board at Kompleks Pejabat Kerajaan, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim here on March 3, 2015, and June 29, 2015, respectively.

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