Country for PR: Indonesia
Contributor: Antara News Agency
Friday, September 14 2018 - 21:58
AsiaNet
The leading Defense lawyer of former Malaysian Prime Minister Dato Sri Najib Razak was arrested earlier today charged with money laundering
JAKARTA, Indonesia, Sept. 14, 2018 /Antara-AsiaNet/ --

By: Ari Akbar, Indonesian Columnist

He was later released on bail and gave a press conference (please see link to 
video). The former PM himself has also issued a formal statement (attached).  
Today’s arrest appears to be a clear attempt to intimidate the legal defense 
team of the former Prime Minister Najib Razak and to politicise the judiciary.  
Such actions may well deny Dato Sri Najib Razak a fair trial.  His trial is 
expected to start early next year.

Najib Razak made a statement in this regard:

"1. The AMLA charges against my lead lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah 
for receiving payments from my party for services rendered is yet another step 
to deny me a fair trial. It can be seen as an attempt to intimidate or 
disqualify him and other lawyers from representing me in my case. 

2. Prior to this, the judge in my case has been suddenly changed while the 
Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) has appointed two outside lawyers to lead the 
prosecution case against me. This is counter to the long-held claim by PH 
previously that the AGC should never have appointed an outside lawyer in Tan 
Sri Shafee to act as prosecutor in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trials. 
Now the AGC has appointed not one but two outside lawyers to act as prosecutors.

3. As I have recently disclosed via bank documents, I have received substantial 
amounts directly as a political donation from Saudi Arabia's Ministry of 
Finance and a Saudi Arabia prince who acted for King Abdullah.

4. These monies were used to pay Tan Sri Shafee towards account of payment of 
fees for services that his firm rendered as lawyers for my party over many 
cases over the years including for election petition cases in GE12 and GE13 for 
BN leaders such as former PM Tun Abdullah Badawi, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and many 
others. A lawyer works for fees and he or she is entitled to payment for their 
services.

5. Charging Tan Sri Shafee for receiving payments for legal services rendered 
sets a very dangerous legal precedent for all lawyers, professionals and 
businesses. 

No one will be safe if the government choose to victimise or to politically 
persecute you. 

6. The speed of Tan Sri Shafee's persecution is also questionable as it comes 
mere days after Tan Sri Shafee had correctly pointed out that is was the 
current Prime Minister who had ordered to make Tan Sri Shafee as the lead 
prosecutor in Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trials - a fact that neither Tun Mahathir, 
his long-time aide who arranged for the meeting or the previous 
Attorney-General has yet to comment or deny.

7. The timing of Tan Sri Shafee's charges is surprising as I have yet to be 
interviewed by MACC or had a chance to submit my documents over this case. This 
means that investigations were clearly not complete before Tan Sri Shafee was 
charged.

8. Tan Sri Shafee's persecution also comes hot on the heels on the AGC 
controversially dropping two corruption charges against the current Finance 
Minister - a case that was already undergoing trial where 20 witnesses have 
been heard."

Additionally, more than a dozen other charges against Pakatan political leaders 
and those aligned to them were also similarly dropped in the previous months.

The lawyer, Tan Sri Shafee in an earlier statement issued on 8th September had 
said: "My firm and I have acted as the lawyers on retainer for Dato' Sri Najib 
Tun Razak and UMNO for many years until now. Under the UMNO party constitution, 
Dato' Sri Najib has been empowered to manage and disburse party funds for the 
benefit of his party and is a practise that is no different from past UMNO 
presidents. I have never said i have never been paid by Dato' Sri Najib or UMNO 
as this is illogical as it is public knowledge that both parties have engaged 
me and my firm on numerous occasions in the past.  My previous statement on 
this matter was very clear as to say that I have not been paid to act as 
prosecutor in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's case. As to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's 
claim that the Attorney General Office (AGC) should never had allowed me to 
prosecute his case as appointing an outside prosecutor is not  an ordinary 
practice by the attorney general, let me point out to you that our current 
attorney general had just announced last week that they have appointed not one 
but TWO outside prosecutors in Sulaiman Abdullah and Gopal Sri Ram to act as 
the chief prosecutors in Dato' Sri Najib's case. Sulaiman Abdullah and Gopal 
Sri Ram had acted to defend Datuk Seri Anwar when I had acted as prosecutor. 
This is now an interesting reversal as I am now the defence lawyer for Dato' 
Sri Najib while they will be the prosecutors."

SOURCE: Ari Akbar, Indonesian Columnist