Shafee ‘abusing’ court process, argues LHDN

Stay bid: Muhammad Shafee argued that the outcome of the appeals by Najib and his son could affect the suit against him.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) wants the High Court to set aside Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah’s application for a stay of proceedings in relation to its RM9.41mil tax arrears suit against the lawyer.

The board claimed the lawyer’s application was “an abuse of court process”.

In an affidavit-in-reply filed on Jan 26, LHDN’s control unit principal assistant director Shamsul Effendi Khamis, who affirmed the affidavit, said Muhammad Shafee intended to abuse the process of the court to delay the tax claims against him.

“The (tax arrears) case of Datuk Seri Najib Razak is just a mere stepping stone for the defendant to stay this case which supposedly should have reached the stage of hearing,” Shamsul Effendi said.

Muhammad Shafee, in his stay application dated Nov 3, 2021, wanted a stay of proceedings in the LHDN suit against him pending the outcome of tax-related appeals filed by Najib and his son Datuk Mohd Nazifuddin regarding the payment of income tax amounting to RM1.69bil and RM37.6mil respectively to the LHDN.

Muhammad Shafee argued that the outcome of the appeals by Najib and Mohd Nazifuddin could affect the suit against him.

Shamsul Effendi said if the stay was allowed, it would suspend all interlocutory applications filed including the defendant’s applications himself and would waste the court’s time.

The application for leave to appeal by Najib and Mohd Nazifuddin is fixed for hearing on Feb 16, but there was no certainty that the Federal Court would deliver a decision in the matter on the same day, said Shamsul Effendi.

The tax officer further stated that the national interest would be prejudiced as the board would be prevented from collecting revenue that was vital for national development.

He also said that LHDN had already obtained a summary judgment in its suits against Najib and his son whilst an application for a summary judgment against Muhammad Shafee was still pending before the High Court.

A summary judgment is where a court decides a case without hearing the testimony of witnesses.

The tax suit against Muhammad Shafee is fixed for further case management on Feb 16.

LHDN filed the suit against Muhammad Shafee on May 6, 2021, seeking payment amounting to RM9.41mil in tax arrears for five assessment years.

Muhammad Shafee is Najib’s lead counsel in his 1Malaysia Development Bhd-linked criminal cases.

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