Shafee says gleeful after seeing ‘absurd’ new charges against Najib

(MMO) – Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah lambasted the prosecution over the six charges filed against client Datuk Seri Najib Razak today, describing these as nonsensical and nebulous in nature.

The senior private practitioner told the court that the activities from which the charges stemmed were all undertaken by his client as the finance minister at the time for the economic benefit of the country.

He also blasted prosecutors for the vague charges, noting that these do not explain the exact nature of the action that constituted an offence under Section 409 of the Penal Code.

“If you were to look at the first charge, on December 21 2017, in his capacity as the minister, there is an amount of RM1.2 billion belonging to the government.

“I’m sure Your Honour is baffled by what is this charge, because there are no particulars provided,” said Shafee.

Shafee told the court he was informed the first two charges against Najib and former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah involved land acquisitions for two projects.

He argued that the action was a “re-prioritisation” of government spending at the time.

“My client believes that these two charges are wholly unfounded because the decision taken by him and Tan Sri Irwan Serigar was for the good of the nation, to prevent a trigger of default which would have been disastrous to the economy of Malaysia,” said Shafee.

Najib and Irwan were jointly charged today with six counts of criminal breach of trust over RM6.64 billion in public funds.

The first two charges as mentioned by Shafee are over a combined RM1.86 billion.

Shafee explained that the funds were used to settle a payment dispute with Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC), which guaranteed 1MDB’s repayment of US$3.5 billion in bonds.

He argued that failure to settle the payment would have exposed the country to the risk of 1MDB’s cross default over all its bonds.

“All this was done in the sole interest of the nation. No personal benefit. No asset was benefited by my client or anyone else.

“All the six charges were purely to meet the obligation of the investment arm of the nation, 1MDB,” he said.

Shafee said his client was looking forward to defending himself over these charges.

“We were quite happy when we saw the charges. My client, who thinks these charges are absurd and atrocious, is also looking forward to meeting the charges in full trial,” he said.