Shafee purchased bungalow in Bukit Tunku with RM9.5mil received from Najib, court told

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The RM9.5mil received by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah (pic) from Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 2013 and 2014 was used to purchase a bungalow in Bukit Tunku here, a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer told the High Court on Monday (Sept 20).

MACC assistant commissioner, Mohd Nasharudin Amir, said Muhammad Shafee admitted this when giving his statement to the MACC on July 28, 2017.

"Based on his (Muhammad Shafee) answers when recording the statement, two cheques valued at RM4.3mil and RM5.2mil received from Najib as fees for legal counsel provided to the former prime minister and party, was used to purchase a house valued at RM9.5mil,” he said.

Mohd Nasharudin, who was then MACC Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds from Illicit Activities Investigations Unit head, said Muhammad Shafee also told him that the RM9.5mil had no links with his appointment as Deputy Public Prosecutor in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy II appeal case.

Mohd Nasharudin said this when reading his witness statement on the third day of Muhammad Shafee’s trial, in which the senior lawyer is facing money laundering charges involving RM9.5mil allegedly received from Najib and two charges of making false statements to the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN).

Mohd Nasharudin said Muhammad Shafee also told him that he had no knowledge of the source of the money he received and that he never asked Najib as to where it came from.

As for Muhammad Shafee’s statement to the MACC, Mohd Nasharudin said it was recorded at his office, Messrs Shafee & Co, adding that the lawyer was not handcuffed at the time as he was involved in the investigations in which Najib was accused of diverting RM2.6bil to private accounts.

Cross-examined by lawyer Harvinderjit Singh, Mohd Nasharudin said he could not recall if he had requested from Muhammad Shafee documents pertaining to the purchase of the bungalow when the statement was recorded.

Meanwhile, MACC Headquarters Investigations Unit officer, Zulfaqar Mohd Khalil, 29, told the court that when recording his statement at the MACC headquarters on Sept 11, 2018, Muhammad Shafee, when referred to a sales and purchase agreement dated Feb 21, 2014, said the money had been used to purchase land and a three-storey bungalow.

Zulfaqar said Muhammad Shafee also informed he provided legal services to clients from Barisan Nasional over election petitions from 2004 to 2006, in which 46 files were opened.

"Muhammad Shafee also explained that he had met Najib on Sept 5, 2013, and stated that the total cost of legal services provided was about RM12mil. He suggested to Najib that if payment was to be made, the actual amount would be RM11.5mil.

"During the meeting, Muhammad Shafee confirmed that he had informed Najib that he needed money to buy a house worth RM9.5mil and Najib told him to take RM9.5mil first before issuing two checks worth RM4.3mil and RM5.2mil respectively.

"According to Muhammad Shafee, Najib agreed that the RM9.5 million would be a loan until Najib comes up with a rationalisation (for the payment),” the witness said.

On Sept 13, 2018, Muhammad Shafee pleaded not guilty to two charges of receiving RM9.5mil which were proceeds from unlawful activities through two cheques issued by Najib which were deposited into his CIMB Bank Berhad account.

He was also charged with two counts of engaging in transactions resulting from illegal activities, namely submitting incorrect tax returns, which is in violation of paragraph 113 (1) (a) of the Income Tax Act 1967 for the financial years ending Dec 31, 2013, and Dec 31, 2014.

Muhammad Shafee also faced two charges of being involved in transactions involving proceeds from unlawful activities, namely submitting incorrect returns, which contravened paragraph 113 (1) (a) of the Income Tax Act 1967, for the financial years ending Dec 31, 2013 and Dec 31, 2014.

The trial before Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin continues on Tuesday (Sept 21).- Bernama

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