KUALA LUMPUR: Prominent lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah previously voiced his intention to hold the post of Attorney-General (AG) and lead the prosecution in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's second sodomy appeal.
The Prime Minister revealed that the lawyer, now embroiled in multiple criminal charges, had met him in the past to seek his help to be AG.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told a press conference today that Muhammad Shafee had remarked how then AG Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail was not capable in prosecuting the case against the PKR de facto leader.
"Muhammad Shafee really wanted to be AG, he came to see me and said the AG at the time could not prosecute the case against Anwar.
"He (Muhammad Shafee) was confident he could win. I said, if you are confident of winning, go see (Datuk Seri) Najib Razak. At the time, I was still good friends with Najib," he said, referring to former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
This was in response to Muhammad Shafee's claim that Dr Mahathir had wanted for him to lead the prosecution in Anwar's second sodomy appeal.
During today’s press conference after chairing Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia's (Bersatu) supreme council meeting at Yayasan Selangor, here, Dr Mahathir not only rubbished the allegation but countered by saying that Muhammad Shafee had not only offered to prosecute Anwar but also offered to do so with the aim of being AG.
Dr Mahathir also sarcastically recalled that Muhammad Shafee had said if he was not made AG, he would go against Najib, at the time.
In a statement this week, to deny allegations that he was paid RM9.5 million to handle the prosecution against Anwar, Muhammad Shafee said Dr Mahathir had wanted him to be a special prosecutor in the case.
Muhammad Shafee said Najib who was the prime minister at the time, was not too keen on the idea of appointing him by way of fiat (a legal authoritative decision that has absolute sanction) for the appeal.
He claimed the appointment was one of the six demands made by Dr Mahathir to Najib in exchange for continued support for his administration.
Muhammad Shafee claimed trial yesterday at the Sessions Court to two charges under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 (AMLATFA) over two payments of RM4.3 million and RM5.2 million from Najib in 2013 and 2014.
He was also charged with two counts of making false declarations to the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) for not including the RM9.5 million in his tax filing for the year under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFAPUA).
The Umno lawyer pleaded not guilty to all four charges.
Additional reporting by Mohd Iskandar Ibrahim, Luqman Arif Abdul Karim